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Smart home basics

The basic definition of a smart home is a set of appliances which connect to the internet that you can control or automate remotely. The primary reason for the slow growth of the smart home market is because the requirements for each home differs. Two people will not use the same automation. It is that individuality that makes implementing a smart home a step-by-step process. Here are the various components you will need for a smart home:

Lights

Smart lights can reduce your electricity bill. All smart lights are LED, and you can use your phone to set schedules to ensure that lights are only on when you want them. Also, you can remotely switch off any light. You can get connected-bulbs like the Hue or replace the light switch with a smart-switch.

Smart speakers

Use smart speakers like the Echo or Google Home to control other smart devices, stream music, and for everyday tasks like shopping lists. You can also call for cabs, check the weather, and any of the other thousand skills that exist on the platform.

Plugs

You can make any appliance or device in your house smart with a smart plug. Just like the lights, you can control them remotely. Some smart plugs provide and track power use so you can keep track of what uses the most power in your home.

Cameras

Security cameras are also part of the smart home ecosystem. You can trigger certain automation under certain conditions. For example, you can trigger an alert and switch a light on when a camera detects motion. New cameras like those from Nest can even distinguish the sound of breaking glass and generate an alert.

Should You Trust Digital Wallets?

Summary: Digital wallets are the latest in online merchant accounts. But, are they truly a safe alternative?

The versatility and functionality of digital wallets put them in a league of their own. However, there are still some minor concerns that you should be aware of prior to placing your full trust into this technology. Now, in order to understand whether or not digital wallets are right for you, you’ll want to see what types of challenges digital wallets are facing today and what they are doing to overcome them. This article will cover all aspects of these challenges so you can determine if this new technology is perfect for you.

Secure Technology or Fraudulent Magnet?

First off, it should be understood that a digital wallet isn’t easy for an outside to gain access to. While nothing is immune to outside hackers, digital wallets utilize an advanced encryption method to ensure that each and every transaction remains private and secure. This brings up the point of finding a secure platform to work with. Be sure that every merchant account provider that you look into has the latest in security technologies.

Digital wallets never release an account number to a retailer. Because everything is “tokenized”, which means that the transaction takes places within a single session, you’ll find that it leaves behind little to no trace of personal activity. Now, every transaction number is unique and no account data is attached to it, so thieves are less likely to try and snuff out an account number or any other valuable data that links directly to your funds. Without access to this data, cyber criminals are less likely to gain access.

App-Based Digital Wallets

Another security implementation that digital wallets are using these days is password or fingerprint technologies. Since most digital wallets are based on mobile apps, they’ll require you to create a secure password and/or input a fingerprint for access purposes. Keeping your phone on you at all times is relatively ideal to keep your wallet protected, but it doesn’t beat creating a secure password.

Most of the time, thieves that gain access to accounts do so by breaking a simple password like “rabbit4” or “Jeremy1”. Instead, if it allows, combine numbers, letters and symbols to maximize your account’s security – and be sure to write it down in the case you forget it. Doing this will deter hackers from gaining access to your account and stealing personal information and funds. Remember, you always have the option of resetting your account remotely by logging into the app from a desktop or laptop.

Bio submitted by Charge.com: Searching for a tried and true Internet credit card processing service that values security and functionality? Visit the experts at Charge.com for more information.

Why Technology Designers Play a Pivotal Role in Successful Command Centers

Summary: Working with technology designers can save you money, time, and effort on your command center project.

Technology designers plays a key role in the overall success of a command center. Just like architects and engineers have an indispensable place within the overall design, the technology designer is now a critical component to a successful output.

Leaving the Past Behind

This is more of a non-traditional approach to design – essentially moving away from the 20th century way of thinking. This may require some adjustment in the thinking of clients, architects, and the rest of the team, but it’s also an absolute necessity when it comes to successful command center projects – which ironically relies on technology to thrive.

The Technology Designer Must be Involved from the Get-Go

The time to utilize a technology designer is at the beginning stages of the project, never in the middle or towards the end. The reason behind this is that the technology designer can assist the owner in making strategic decisions which will have a significant impact on the overall success of the project. For instance, say you bring in a technology designer to take a look at the blueprints that the architect has drawn out and sees major flaws. It’d obviously require a redesign and because you haven’t started the construction phase yet, it shouldn’t pose much of a threat to additional costs.

Remember, a technology designer can discover things like insufficient data centers, flawed video display placement, and inappropriate space, which all correlate to productivity and functionality. By catching problems like these and changing the design early on, thousands and thousands of dollars, along with months of wasted time and effort, could be saved.

Blog submitted by Constant Technologies, Inc.: Let the experts at Constant Technologies, Inc. design the finest security operation center consoles for your organization. With decades of experience on their hands, Constant Technologies, Inc. has paved the way for effective custom command center design.

Outsourced Vs. In-house EDI: The benefits and drawbacks

One of the biggest decisions from a business standpoint is choosing between purchasing software for an in-house EDI implementation as opposed to going with an outsourced EDI service bureau. Below, we look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of both options:

Outsource

Benefits

One of the immediate benefits is the cost savings from identifying and eliminating bad business practices.

Access to the latest technology. When you use a SaaS model, the latest technology is available immediately.

There is a focus on the customer relationship and business rather than the technology itself

Drawbacks

There is an implementation fee

You will need to pay for any transaction, including changing information.

There is no way to know in advance how much time to purchase for mapping business functions and data.

No way to expedite the queue for transactions.

In-House

Benefits

Lower long-term costs as you only pay upfront and do not pay per transaction.

A much greater control of information, as data is not sent to a third party.

Greater business partner satisfaction

Drawbacks

The high initial capital expense for the software and any work to connect existing software.

Requires personnel with knowledge of EDI to manage the in-house systems and troubleshoot issues.

Regular maintenance costs and upgrades will incur separate costs.

Article by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA. They are the premier EDI outsource experts and the best option to scale your business.

The Role of Information Technology in the Healthcare Industry

Summary: Information technology plays a crucial role in keeping records on file when it comes to patient care.

Without a centralized record at a medical facility, there isn’t clarity when it comes to treatment or medication. For instance, let’s say you take a family member to a consultation. The doctor then asks whether he or she’s had an MRI recently. Your family member responds with an unsure “no” because he or she doesn’t remember receiving one. To be on the safe side, the physician then schedules an MRI again to ensure that the results are to be had.

A Centralized System Benefits All Parties Involved

What many people do no understand is how much attention to time and detail it takes to manage one’s health care when a problem arises – which is a lot. It’s quite common for doctors to prescribe numerous medications and tests. However, with a centralized medical record, files can be pulled up and duplication can be avoided. This redundancy also adds to the high costs of obtaining health care in the first place, so why add to it?

An EOC building can assist the record-keeping system by keeping a staff of IT members on hand to take care of the entire medical system. Information technology has the potential to provide doctors a much more complete picture of the patient that they are tending to, as well as providing patients with a much easier way to access their medical history. This works hand-in-hand and benefits both parties involved.

Constanttech.com can help create a custom control center to your liking. For more information, visit them online today.

Amazon’s secret to cheap, non-refrigerated food

Amazon is making a strong play for the food and grocery business. Amazon has taken several steps recently to compete with giants like Walmart for the nations grocery business, including a $13 billion acquisition of Whole Foods and launching its meal-prep box line. Now, Amazon is looking to the military for an edge.

According to a report by CNBC, Amazon is looking at a technology that the military uses to prepare, store, and ship food. The online shopping giant hopes the technology will allow it to prepare and sell tasty meals that do not require refrigeration.

The technology, known as MATS, is a development by the Washington State University. The entire purpose of the technology was to provide a meal system for the military that does not require refrigeration, has adequate calories and can be efficiently stored and shipped.

MATS stands for microwave assisted thermal sterilization. The process takes sealed fool packages and places them in sterilized water and then heats the packages using microwaves. This process supposedly does a better job of retaining the texture and flavor of sterilized foods.

Amazon wants a piece of the frozen and prepared food market. The global frozen food market is worth approximately $250 billion, and a third of that accounts for ready-to-eat meals. If Amazon can perfect the use of MATS for meals, it will have a whole new way of attacking the market.

According to the report, Amazon will debut the new service next year if the technology gets FDA approval.

Choosing between a hosted or non-hosted shopping cart solution

For the longest time, the recommended approach to a shopping cart was to buy a script and host it yourself. The logic was simple: when you own and run the shopping cart solution you control all the aspects of both the experience and the outcome. Also, you would never be the victim of sudden price changes to a service. However, cloud and technology improvements mean the decision is no longer in favor of hosting the shopping cart yourself.

Here are three reasons why opinions have changed:

Cost – The most stable and secure online shopping systems charged a percentage of all sales. The percentage is small, but when taken from revenue, and not profit, it becomes difficult to sell any low margin products. Things have changed now with most providers offering excellent features on monthly subscriptions.

Tools – The look and feel of the site and store did not matter as much as they do now. Good design and flow can make a big difference to sales. These online providers now have amazing built-in tools to create websites and stores. Secure Net Shop, for example, has a website builder to create a simple website or a complete online store.

Setup – It was a given that you would need to hire someone with technical expertise to set up and configure the shopping cart. Modern systems are so simple that you can do everything yourself with easy user interfaces and tools. The only tedious part is when you enter all the product details, but even those have bulk import tools.

Four important factors when looking for an EDI solution

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

When it comes to choosing EDI services, the toughest point is when you begin evaluating options. A business needs scalable solutions that will allow them to grow and have the capacity to support that growth. The capacity, along with expertise should form the basis of your selection criteria. Also, here are four more factors that should play a role in your decision:

Transaction volume

The first step is to gather as much information about your organization as possible. The most important number is that of your monthly transactions. The count should include all documents sent and received in whatever form. In future, all this will be digital, but for the count, include all forms of communication. Now we know how many transactions we have, what sort of effect growth will have on those numbers.

Integration

Most organizations use some form of ERP software. The larger companies will use software like SAP, NetSuite while smaller outfits will have systems like BusinessByDesign. Ideally, the EDI outsource should integrate directly with your ERP and other in-house software, creating one seamless system. This way everything from reorders levels to order fulfillment to warehouse management will be seamless and error free.

Support

Lastly, look at their service and support offerings. If possible, ask for references and inquire about after-sales and other support including issue resolution and triage. Important business critical systems need top-level support in times of crisis.

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Not everyone needs millions of EDI transactions a month. Act Data is a provider of EDI services including web-based EDI solutions.

The number one way to reduce shopping cart abandonment

Written by Secure Net Shop

The high rate of shopping cart e-commerce abandonment is a big issue for online retailers. What many of these stores do not realize is that this is an opportunity to increase sales with just a few changes. With shopping cart abandonment as high at 75%, according to Listrak, this means that only one out of every four completes a purchase. Decreasing abandonment by 25% alone, will double sales. Here is the single change that will bring about the biggest reductions in abandonment:

Free shipping. According to Forrester, 44% of cart abandonment is due to shipping costs. It is the number one cause. Free shipping is available in many places, and customers have come to expect it from everywhere. Even if it involves increasing the price of the product, free shipping is the number one way to increase sales and reduce cart abandonment.

Sometimes there are scenarios where you cannot absorb the cost of free shipping, not can you absorb it into the cost of the product. In those situations, offer free shipping beyond a threshold and make it clear from the start. For example, you can offer free shipping for orders over a $100. E-commerce cart software support conditional free shipping.

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If you want to succeed at running an online business, you are going to need an online store. The commerce shopping cart sold by Secure Net Shop should be at the top of your list.

 

The opportunity benefits of EDI

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

Going ahead with an EDI implementation has many benefits. There are the strategic benefits such being able to adopt new business processes. Then there are the operational benefits such as cost reduction, elimination of human error and improved cash flow. One aspect that is often not given prominence are the opportunity benefits that EDI services can provide.

There are two primary opportunity benefits: Enhanced image and competitive edge.

Most organizations have to deal with customers one way or another. These customers can be end users and consumers or other businesses. Often customer service affects how the business is seen. The product can be robust, but if the customer service is sub-par then the company image suffers. This is where using an EDI provider comes in. It provides customer service agents or staff the ability, in real-time, to see the current state of an order. This allows them to provide the customer with an accurate estimation of completion.

Competitive edge follows a similar concept. Both the strategic and operational benefits of EDI directly affect the ability of the company to respond to market changes. Potential customers can be won over with the lower costs, accurate delivery estimates, and faster order completion. This competitive edge extends to all parts of the company: customer service, sales, marketing, and management.

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Act Data is an internet EDI provider for retail and supplier environments.