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World Backup Day: tech to rely on in times of uncertainty – ITProPortal

We are living through uncertain times, with many businesses enforcing work-from-home policies and moving most operations online. As a result, it has recently become more important than ever for companies and their IT departments to be absolutely certain that all of their data online is safe and secure.

This World Backup Day we spoke to six industry experts about what steps businesses and their employees should take in order to ensure their online operations are fully backed-up, particularly in times like these.

Backup and disaster recovery plans are crucial in todays data-driven society, says Dave Demlow, VP Product Management at Scale Computing. Faced with ever-increasing volumes of data, along with the growing threat of ransomware, malware, and a rapidly increasing remote workforce due to the outbreak of coronavirus, IT professionals are under tremendous pressure to protect everything while ensuring production systems arent impacted.

"World Backup Day serves as an important reminder to raise awareness on the cruciality of data protection, backup and business continuity plans. Data loss prevention can be achieved through performing frequent backups and should be considered a high priority to individuals and businesses alike.

"Due to the increase in cyberthreats and the rapidly growing remote workforce, its important to secure and protect IT infrastructure with a disaster recovery plan. Implementing a recovery plan allows users to proactively prevent or recover quickly from disasters, ensuring data is safe and mission-critical business applications are available.

"Many only emphasise the currency and frequency of the recovery points, but the time it takes to recover information is just as significant. Backup and disaster recovery plans should be regularly evaluated to protect organisations from being blindsided by an incident.

The data held by organisations in the U.K. public sector is some of the most critical and sensitive data in the country, comments Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds. From medical records to national defence information, the public sector is responsible for keeping all its data safe and untouchable from unauthorised users. Particularly now that organisations are more likely to use a combination of on-premises and cloud, IT teams need to be confident that all the data across all storage locations is backed up if theres any unscheduled downtime.

The risks of creating a backup manually without an automated solution are too great for the public sector to consider, and therefore organisations shouldif they havent alreadylook to implement a cost-effective backup solution to not only manage all of this complex and sensitive data, but reduce time spent by IT teams keeping backups up to date. Its also worth noting a backup isnt a backup until the integration of data is verified, and the restoration process tested; neither of these can be rushed. Though adopting a backup solution means additional cost in the short-term, having this safety blanket in place will reassure millions of citizens their data is as safe as it can be.

93 per cent of companies that lost their data centre for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster, reveals Eltjo Hofstee, Managing Director at Leaseweb UK. World Backup Day is the perfect opportunity for businesses to ponder this, then ask themselves the following questions: How much time am I prepared to have mission-critical functions unavailable? How much data am I prepared to lose? How much money will it cost while these services are not available? If these questions raise concerns, it is time for a business to address its backup strategy. The most valuable assets should be prioritised and organisations need to be demanding about the quality, scalability and reliability of backup solutions.

Eltjo continues: Backing-up data is pivotal to a successful disaster recovery plan. Data has been backed up since the beginning of the computer age, but there have been many changes in the methods and storage technology used in this process. There has been an evolution in storage technology from tapes, to hard drives, to where we are now, which is cloud storage. One benefit of modern cloud backup solutions is that they are suitable for businesses of any size. A business and its employees can back up data to the cloud from any server or device, anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud backup solutions are easy to manage, and their providers offer hands-on customer support.

World Backup Day was created to remind consumers about the need to backup their most important digital files, explains Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting. But taking a business view on March 31st is just as imperative, and never has this been more clear than in todays uncertain and digitally-reliant workplace. Few companies would argue that backups aren't worth the effort, however, every year we see stories about lost revenue and lost reputation because a backup hasnt been there when needed.

One of the ways sufficient backup plans can drop off the IT to-do list is because businesses dont have the time, resources or experience to manage it in-house. But with the cloud computing and managed service era comes a practical and affordable way forward, and working with a partner that offers backup and disaster recovery solutions can be easily built into any IT environment. So, although awareness of its importance is for most improving, understanding its urgency and where to go for help remains a key message this World Backup Day.

"There are two major reasons why we should take backups seriously: Hardware failure and human error, says Steve Cochran, Chief Technology Officer at ConnectWise. Systems are not fool proof and every piece of hardware will fail eventually, so its not a question of if, but rather when, these failures will happen. If you havent kept up with your backups, youll get caught unprepared. Theres also a factor of human error where you might accidentally delete a file or photo. We put our entire lives on our computers and mobile devices, but we also make mistakes, and not having a backup system in place is almost silly at this point. While you need to dedicate some time to set up automatic backups, you dont have to keep up with them -- they simply run in the background.

Backing up isnt just something we should do on a personal level. Hardware failures and human errors happen on a global scale, so backups should be an important consideration for any business, large or small. When you back up your data, your business is better prepared to handle any situation, whether human error, natural disaster or global crisis. With backups in place, youre proactive, which means your data is safe and youre prepared to address problems immediately, which minimises the impact on your customers."

Back in 2011, World Backup Day was initiated in order to remind us how essential it is to have a copy of our data and information, concludes Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, Technology Evangelist at Zerto. But, while the day has only grown in significance over the years, backup technology has barely begun to evolve. From tape, to hard drive and now cloud which is really just tape in many cases the target and management has changed, yet it is still fundamentally based on periodic snapshots of information.

But in our always-on business landscape, and especially in times of crisis like we are currently experiencing, can an organisation still be truly protected with an antiquated backup strategy?

The short answer is it cant. Data should be protected by continuous replication, which makes sure that every change, update and added piece of data is always available. This gives the reassurance that all data is protected up to a moment before anything disrupts it. If your organisation doesnt have a solid strategy and supporting tactical plan in place, now is the time to implement one.

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The Chinese Art of Working in Pajamas – capitalwatch.com – via – CapitalWatch

Author: Chiu-Ti Jansen

Do you have a fantasy of working in your PJs not only when you are sick? I do.

If you have loaded up shares of Zoom Video Communications (Nasdaq: ZM) while dancing to the tune of "I Will Survive" in your living room, congrats! Zoom, a marquee remote conferencing service provider trading on Nasdaq, has seen its shares more than doubled year-to-date.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told "Good Morning America" on March 27 that some parts of the country could remain coronavirus combat zones come, "Easter, Memorial Day, or [even] Labor Day." This is bad news for America, but good news for Zoom Video.

Yet analysts are divided as to whether Zoom's PE ratio, by reference to its most recent earnings per share, at a whacking 1,794.38 as of March 27, can sustain itself post-COVID-19. Zoom trades at a multiple of 32 X projected revenues expected for the next fiscal year, while the average multiple for SaaS (software as a service) company trades at a multiple of 8.2 X revenues.

Still, whether remote work will become the norm in the future remains an open question. China was two months ahead of the U.S. in its first massive, socially coordinated work-from-home experiment, necessitated by the COVID-19 outbreak. As Chinese society returns to work, do those virtual office hot stocks remain darlings among investors?

300 Million Chinese in Virtual Offices

Ai Media Consulting's data show that in the first week following the Wuhan lockdown, more than 18 million companies and 300 million people connected through remote office software. Three out of five most downloaded apps in Apple Store pertained to cloud-based office applications.

Chinese stock analyst Shen Xinfeng thinks for the long run the Chinese population that needs access to remote work products should stay around 200-300 million, but not many more.

Zoom has become inaccessible in China starting last September, unless through a localized version offered by Zoom's Chinese partner Huawan Telecom. Most of my friends in China use the applications offered by tech giants Alibaba, Tencent and ByteDance.

There are also sector-focused players that benefited from the upticks of teleworking from home. It is worth-noting that the top Chinese remote office suites are already internationally forward-looking before the coronavirus outbreak.As the pandemic continues to circle the globe, we should expect these Chinese players to tap onto overseas demands and extend their reach globally.

Tencent's VooV

Tencent launched VooV, an international version of Tencent Meeting, in more than 100 countries and regions on March 20.Armed with a beauty filter that would give you a wide-eyed look with pointy chins and porcelain skin, VooV is essential to keeping up your faade (sans face masks) while being sequestered at home.

But critics have pointed out VooV's lack of many functions to facilitate real-time work collaboration. And unlike Zoom, VooV does not offer you a selection of virtual backgrounds, which I guess means you have to tidy up your handouts and change out of your pajamas before you go on air. Judging from Walmart's increased sale of office tops but not bottoms, the trick seems to be dressing for work above the torse while (hopefully) wearing the unseen pajama pants.

But VooV has an advantage over its competitors in that it's embedded in Tencent's ecosystem of apps, including ubiquitous messaging app WeChat that boasts over 1.15 billion monthly active users as of the end of Q3 2019. Users can access its service via existing WeChat accounts without additional registration requirement while enjoying a broad range of file-sharing functions.

Alibaba's DingTalk

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Alibaba's DingTalk (Dingding in Mandarin) consistently ranked No. 1 among all apps.The app has been downloaded more than 1 billion times.Used by more than 5 million companies globally, the app also enables online training and education.

Often compared with its Western counterpart Slack in offering group communications, voice and video calls and file-sharing, DingTalk also includes a contingent of monitoring features that privacy advocates find intrusive.

Reviewers of DingTalk prize its comprehensive features, user-friendliness, strong cloud storage function, feature enabling transferring money or "tipping" through a "red envelop", and a video airbrush filter.

ByteDance's Lark

ByteDance, the world's most-valued unicorn that also owns super app TikTok, launched its enterprise messaging and productivity app Lark in overseas market in April 2019.Lark's Chinese version, named Feishu (Flying Book), has risen in popularity in the wake of the nation-wide lockdown.

On February 24, Feishu announced that it would be open to all enterprises and organizations in the country free of charge, regardless of size and duration, and all users can use all-suite functions.

Available on macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android, Lark is an office collaboration suite with built-in functionality that includes text and voice communications, and creative capabilities such as documents, creating charts and mapping thought process. In addition, Lark can conduct audio and video conferences, with calendar and open platform features.

Critics have lauded Lark's strong cloud storage capability, built-in translation function, and voice-to-text conversion. Lark also uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide infrastructure services. With a support team based in the Bay Area, Lark is expected to make aggressive moves in North America.

Other Niche Players

A Chinese online commentator proposed that Zoom, founded in the U.S. by Chinese immigrant Eric Yuan, should merge with BizConf Video, to "streamline the worlds of China and overseas cloud office video conferencing platforms."According to BizConf's own website, it was established in 2006 to provide companies with cloud-based video conferences, audio conferences, and webcasts. 70% of Fortune Global 500 companies with a presence in China use its cloud conference platform for their daily work and communications.

Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed BizConf (ticker no. 300578) saw its stock price shot up 222% from January 1(25.79)to March 3 (82.98).The stock closed at48.55 on March 27, 41% from its one-year high, still turning in an impressive 88% YTD return.

Forperspective, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Index closed at 10109.91 on March 27, reflecting a 3% YTD return.Despite the virus, the Index reached its one-year high at 11,772.38 on February 24.On a 12-month basis, the Index hit its lowest point at 8,584.94 on June 6, 2019, reflecting concerns over the U.S.-China trade disputes at the time.

Xiamen-based Yealink, a unified communication solution provider, provides enterprise communication terminal equipment for global companies through outsourced processing.Yealink'sstock(ticker no. 300628)price rose36% from January 1(72.41)to March2(112.48).But the stock closed at84.7 on March 27, 24% from its one-year high, yielding a 17% YTD return.

Comix Group's cloud video conferencing platform Fastmeeting, another leading video conferencing brand that leverages its technology beyond corporate meetings. In addition to video conferencing, it also provides online meetings, remote training, online education, telehealth, remote interview, and emergency guidance services.

Comix Group (ticker no. 002301) went up 36% from January 1 (12.16) to February 26 (18.89).But the stock closed at14.31 on March 27, 24% from its one-year high, resulting in an 18% YTD return.

Kingsoft's WPS: China's Answer to Microsoft

The work-from-home trend also benefits online office and cloud service providers. According to Master Cicada's data tracking the number of downloads, among the free iOS applications Kingsoft's Office WPS' ranking rose from 112th to the 10th during the period from January 22 to February 11. Measured by efficiency, its ranking rose from 4th to 1st.

Another study by Qimai shows that the iOS version of the WPS Office app was downloaded 193,900 times on February 12, 2020, a significant increase from 50,700 times on January 25, 2020.

Kingsoft has been in business for 32 years and it seems to finally see the end of the tunnel with the changing work environment. Kingsoft has been trying to use handset devices as its entry point to crack Microsoft's dominance.As of March 2019, the number of monthly active users of Kingsoft Office's main products exceeded 328 million, the total number of registered WPS users reached 280 million, accounting for 42.75% of the domestic office software market.

A strategic alliance with Alibaba's Taobao and TMall platforms, inked during 2016-18, has given Kingsoft a leg-up.Now with the sweeping adaptation of DingTalk after the outbreak, the bundled documentation service provided by Kingsoft WPS is enjoying its moment.

Kingsoft (ticker no. 688111) debuted on China'sSTAR (short for "science andtechnologyinnovation board") Market at theShanghaiStockExchange on November 18, 2019, at126.35 per share, which reached its all-time high on March 3 at270. The stock closed at245.8 on March 27, showing a 50% YTD return.

Top Tech Giants Still Dominate

While some nimble competitors have thrived with the overall market trend, tech giants still dominate the remote working space, presumably owing to their ability to leverage their wide user base from their other platforms. According to a recent study that ranks top nine Chinese remote work applications, DingTalk takes the top spot for user connectivity (based on the number of free users for any given setting), while VooV andEnterprise tie for second.

VooV ranks No. 1 in user-friendliness and ease of sharing documents. It also takes home the top spot in the all-around ranking.

However,Alibaba, Tencent, and Bytedance, with their existing international foothold, will be in a better position to capitalize on the epidemic-necessitated work-from-home trend.

Work-from-Home and 996

But the super apps that make working in pajamas easier also come with a cost. For instance, DingTalkis dubbed the "Big Brother of Workplace", offeringclock in/outfunction that simulates a digital "punch card machine".

DingTalk sends out reminders to users minutes before their work hour. By tracking WiFi connections, it keeps tabs on when employees arrive at the virtual office and when they take breaks. While this feature may be helpful in tracking overtime, it could certainly exacerbate any micro-managing corporate culture.

Many Chinese users complain that DingTalk serves employers' interest at the expense of their employees, by making it easy for the bosses to "control, micro-manage, monitor and exploit" their underlings. In fact, DingTalk was able to accelerate its wide adaptation in workplaces precisely because bosses can dictate which office software to use at work.

While DingTalkdoesn't allow managers to trackemployees' real-time locations automatically, the managers can do so if a user enables location services.I wonder whether some employees may opt to do so in an effort to show loyalty and earn points.

In ChineseDing, as a noun or a verb, literally means nail.So the duplicative compound Dingding sounds like hammering a nail. I guess you can imagine yourself in a carpenter's workshop sawing wood and nailing away.Except now you are 996, a bombastic term that shot to fame last year as it refers to the grueling work culture in China's high tech worldworking from 9 A.M to 9 P.M. and for 6 days.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, said it's an honor to work 996 before he corrected himself after a massive international outcry.Of course, bosses (a.k.a.slave-drivers) love 996, especially if they don't have to pay overtime. If remote work is here to stay, with more surveillance functions empowered by these super apps, we may be compelled to work 996 or even more, albeit in our fancy pajamas.

But for now the fans of DingTalk and VooV are just happy to keep their jobs.

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Google Says Its Network Not Stressed By Coronavirus Crisis – CRN: Technology news for channel partners and solution providers

Googles top engineer says the network that supports its enterprise cloud, as well as its many massive consumer services, is in good shape to handle the sustained surge in traffic brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

In a blog posted Thursday, the same day Google saw a cloud outage, Google senior vice president of engineering Urs Hlzle said the internet giant has implemented plans to stay well-ahead of rising demand from people confined to their homes and virtualizing their professional and social lives.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads and more people move to working or learning from home, its natural to wonder whether the Google network can handle the load, Hlzle said. The short answer is yes.

[Related: Google Urges North American Staff To Work From Home To Reduce Coronavirus Risk]

That blog post coincided with an outage affecting Google customers across the Eastern Seaboard. Hlzle, in a separate tweet that day, said the incident was not related to increased usage because of the crisis, but instead caused by a router failure in Atlanta.

Just to make sure: this wasn't related to traffic levels or any kind of overload, our network is not stressed by Covid-19, he tweeted on Thursday.

The network supporting Google Cloud, as well as YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail, was designed to meet large surges in demand, he explained.

The same systems we built to handle peaks like the Cyber Monday online shopping surge, or to stream the World Cup finals, support increased traffic as people turn to Google to find news, connect with others, and get work done during this pandemic, Hlzle said.

While were seeing more usage for products like Hangouts Meet, and different usage patterns in products like YouTube, peak traffic levels are well within our ability to handle the load, he added.

Google operates a network that connects all its data centers with high capacity fiberoptic cables that stretch the world across land and sea, Hlzle said.

That dedicated network handles all cloud traffic until it is handed off for the last mile to more than 3,000 local ISPs, limiting the burden on those regional operators with networks that have different levels of reserve capacity.

Google is working with governments and network operators internationally to minimize stress on the system, he said. An example is the recent decision to default videos on YouTube to standard definitiona lower resolution that reduces traffic.

Google recognizes the importance of its services in the crisis, its top engineer said, and will continue to add capacity to stay ahead of demand.

Our dedicated global network deployment and operations team is increasing capacity wherever needed, and, in the event of a disruption, recovers service as quickly as possible, he said.

Also on Thursday, Googles Vice President for Customer Experience, John Jester, sent a letter to customers explaining Googles continuity planning and reassuring them of the clouds resilience.

Google has long conducted disaster recovery testing, he said, to evaluate the resilience of its infrastructure and processes. Those drills have enabled Google to flag potential problems before they occur and recover from disruptions as quickly as possible.

Googles site reliability engineers are in constant communication with our leadership team and actively monitoring global and local conditions, Jester said.

Because Google runs its Google Cloud Platform and G Suite services on proprietary compute and storage hardware, it can forecast capacity months in advance, and always be sure it will meet future demand.

Were monitoring capacity closely and do not foresee shortfalls at this time, Jester assured enterprise customers.

Google also maintains considerable reserve capacity in its own network and at hundreds of points of presence and thousands of edge location, he said.

The performance of our infrastructure remains as high as it was before the pandemicthe result of years of preparation, Jester said.

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The Stimulus Package Comes With $350 Billion in Loans for Small Businesses. Here’s When They’re Available – Inc.

With President Donald Trump having signed an unprecedented $2 trillion economic stimulus package aimed at supporting U.S. businesses and individuals, you're probably wondering what it all means for you as a small-business owner.

Businesses with fewer than 500 employeesmayqualify for loans thatmake up$350 billionof the overallrelief package. Additionally, businesses with more than 500 employees--usually considered the upper threshold for the small-business distinction--are eligible for the loans if they operate in the food or accommodations industries or are nonprofits or veterans' organizations. Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shared the detailsof what's being called the Paycheck Protection Programwith Inc. editor-at-large Kimberly Weisul at the National Small Business Town Hall, a live webinarhosted Fridayby Inc. and the Chamber.

Bradley said he believed business owners can expect the loans to be available within two weeks. Asked if he thought one week was possible, he replied: "I would bet that if we were doing this call next week, we would be talking to folks who have already applied for the loans and were in the process of receiving it."

The maximum value of a company's loan is based on that company'saverage monthly payroll cost in 2019--including wages for employees making under $100,000, as well as expenses for paid sick leave, health care, and other benefits--multiplied by 2.5. That equals 10 weeks of payroll expenses. The maximum loan sizeavailableis $10 million.

Bradley pointed out that the program has some important distinctions when compared with traditional government loans. Businesses won't need to try to get a loan elsewhere first and won't need to provide a personal guarantee or collateral. Bradley advised that small businesses begin calculating their average monthly payroll costs from 2019 now so they can expedite processes once they go to their lender.

Importantly, the small-business loans can be converted into forgivable grants so long as the company doesn't lay off employees. Payroll costs for laid-off employees won't be forgiven. For each employee who makes less than $100,000, companies can reduce their wages by up to 25 percent before the amount of loan forgiveness begins to decrease.

Panelist Marilyn Landis, CEO of CFO services company Basic Business Concepts, added that companies should visitSBA.govto ensure that they're eligible for particular loans before they go through the process of applying. She also pointed out that the package contains aid for expenses beyond payroll depending on a business's industry. "Identify what you need, then find a program that appears to address that need," she said. "Then investigate whether there are unique things about that program that apply to you or your industry."

Published on: Mar 27, 2020

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McDonald’s Made a Menu Change Nobody Could Have Predicted a Year Ago. Every Smart Business Leader Should Pay Attention – Inc.

There's more to it, of course, because if you break down the big change that McDonald's announced this week, there's a smart, 7-point checklist for just about any business trying to weather the current storm.

Here's what McDonald's is doing,and whyany business leader who wants to emerge on the other side of the coronavirus crisis with his or her business intact and growing should pay attention.

Maybe You'd Like a Little Big Mac Instead?

Quick context: It was nearly five years ago that McDonald's started serving breakfast all day, which was something its most loyalcustomers had wanted for a while.

McDonald's got some good press for that decision, but there were complications.

Rather than increasing the total number of people eating at McDonald's,The Wall Street Journal reported, some regular breakfast customers simply started coming in later.

Result: not only less morning traffic at McDonald's, but some afternoon customers were now buying cheaper breakfast items.

Regardless, that's all over. In a national webcast this week to McDonald's restaurant operators, McDonald's announced it will phase out breakfast-all-day, at least temporarily, according to Crain's Chicago Business.For any business facing trying times, here's what to take away from thatthat decision:

1. Simplify your production

This is the most obvious rationale behind the decision: as Crain's put it, a chance to "streamline kitchen operations during the outbreak." Doing away with all-day breakfast means increased efficiency at the drive-thru, too, with many states banning sit-down meals during the pandemic.

If you're thinking of ways to streamline your business, are there product offerings that take up more than their share of resources? Those might be the ones to target first.

2. Streamline distribution

Fewer choices should mean a faster customer experience, provided McDonald's is confident that it won't destroy its own sales in the process.

This should be a part of your thought process as well. Can you eliminate some customer decisions without further hurting sales as a result of the pandemic?

3. Maximize margins

As noted above, breakfast items are generally lower-priced than lunch and dinner options, and in many cases bring lower margins with them.

McDonald's could have decided to cut back on some lunch and dinner options. There's a reason why they chose breakfast instead.

4. Reinforce customer habits

This is a forward-thinking consideration. Someday, our current troubles will pass. By streamlining things, keeping as many restaurants open as possible, and retaining as many menu offerings available it can, McDonald's continues to enable its best customers' habits.

This is key for many businesses: The more you can keep serving your clients and customers, even if you have to reduce some of your offerings, the less opportunity you give competitors to intrude on their habits.

5. Get ahead of the competitive landscape adjustment

We're in a time when we'll see a lot of good from other people, and businesses might even reach out to help each other in selfless ways. Butthe brutal truth is that some companies won't survive the current economic troubles.

Scaling back your goods and service offerings, and especially conserving resources when demand might be lighter, can position youto take advantage of the new landscape on the other side of the crisis.

6. Take the opportunity to readjust things that aren't working

Nobody ever says this outright, but I've wondered whether breakfast-all-day was a customer perk McDonald's wished it could take back. It was great marketing, but the analyses I've seen make me wonder if it made good sense in the long run.

If so, the coronavirus outbreak gives McDonald's the opportunity, if not the excuse, to pull back. Ask yourself: Are there things your company does for customers that you really wish you didn't have to? This might be an opportunity to reflect on them and even curtail them.

7. Control the timing

Finally, it's worth pointing out that while McDonald's announced this change to its operators, and at least one of them leaked the decision to Crain's, there's no suggestion I've seen that McDonald's planned to announce this change publicly.

For one thing, McDonald's restaurants will phase out all-day breakfast at different times, depending on what distribution centers they use.

Making decisions like this in your business can do something else important, too.

Right now, it seems like we're all reacting to the outside world. This might give you a chanceto make decisions that control your environment, instead of it controlling you.

Published on: Mar 28, 2020

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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Artificial Intelligence News: Latest Advancements in AI …

How does Artificial Intelligence work?

Artificial Intelligence is a complex field with many components and methodologies used to achieve the final result an intelligent machine. AI was developed by studying the way the human brain thinks, learns and decides, then applying those biological mechanisms to computers.

As opposed to classical computing, where coders provide the exact inputs, outputs, and logic, artificial intelligence is based on providing a machine the inputs and a desired outcome, letting the machine develop its own path to achieve its set goal. This frequently allows computers to better optimize a situation than humans, such as optimizing supply chain logistics and streamlining financial processes.

There are four types of AI that differ in their complexity of abilities:

Artificial intelligence is used in virtually all businesses; in fact, you likely interact with it in some capacity on a daily basis. Chatbots, smart cars, IoT devices, healthcare, banking, and logistics all use artificial intelligence to provide a superior experience.

One AI that is quickly finding its way into most consumers homes is the voice assistant, such as Apples Siri, Amazons Alexa, Googles Assistant, and Microsofts Cortana. Once simply considered part of a smart speaker, AI-equipped voice assistants are now powerful tools deeply integrated across entire ecosystems of channels and devices to provide an almost human-like virtual assistant experience.

Dont worry we are still far from a Skynet-like scenario. AI is as safe as the technology it is built upon. But keep in mind that any device that uses AI is likely connected to the internet, and given that internet connected device security isnt perfect and we continue to see large company data breaches, there could be AI vulnerabilities if the devices are not properly secured.

Startups and legacy players alike are investing in AI technology. Some of the leaders include household names like:

As well as newcomers such as:

APEX Technologies was also ranked as the top artificial intelligence company in China last year.

You can read our full list of most innovative AI startups to learn more.

Artificial intelligence can help reduce human error, create more precise analytics, and turn data collecting devices into powerful diagnostic tools. One example of this is wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, which put data in the hands of consumers to empower them to play a more active role managing their health.

Learn more about how tech startups are using AI to transform industries like digital health and transportation.

Then-Dartmouth College professor John McCarthy coined the term, artificial intelligence, and is widely known as the father of AI. in the summer of 1956, McCarthy, along with nine other scientists and mathematicians from Harvard, Bell Labs, and IBM, developed the concept of programming machines to use language and solve problems while improving over time.

McCarthy went on to teach at Stanford for nearly 40 years and received the Turing Award in 1971 for his work in AI. He passed away in 2011.

Open application programming interfaces (APIs) are publicly available governing requirements on how an application can communicate and interact. Open APIs provide developers access to proprietary software or web services so they can integrate them into their own programs. For example, you can create your own chatbot using this framework.

As you could imagine, artificial intelligence technology is evolving daily and Business Insider Intelligence keeping its finger on the pulse of how artificial intelligence will shape the future of a variety of industries, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), transportation and logistics, digital health, and multiple branches of fintech including insurtech and life insurance.

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Artificial Intelligence | Philips

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to improve peoples lives across the health continuum: from healthy living and prevention to diagnosis, treatment, and home care. But we believe that applying AI to health and healthcare requires more than AI alone.

First and foremost, it requires a deep understanding of people's lives, and the clinical and operational context in which healthcare providers operate. Only by combining AI with relevant human domain knowledge can we fully reap its benefits.

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AI News – Artificial Intelligence – Machine Learning News …

From predicting and identifying disease to revolutionizing the way we work, the next few decades will tell the story of the rise of machine learning and intelligence. We're already having intelligent conversations with our AI equipped cell phones, and in the months and years to come, artificial intelligence will materially change our world. Well be here to track it as it happens.

Further reading: The Exponential Guide to Artificial Intelligence [Singularity University]

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5 Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence Is Important To You

You have probably heard that artificial intelligence could be used to do lots of impressive tasks and jobs. AI can help designers and artists make quick tweaks to visuals. AI can also help researchers identify fake images or connect touch and sense. AI is being used to program websites and apps by combining symbolic reasoning and deep learning. Basically, artificial intelligence goes beyond deep learning. Here are five reasons why AI is important to you.

It is no news that AI will replace repetitive jobs. It literally means that these kinds of jobs will be automated, like what robots are currently doing in a myriad of factories. Robots are rendering the humans that are supposed to do those tasks practically jobless.

And it goes further than that many white collar tasks in the fields of law, hospitality, marketing, healthcare, accounting, and others are adversely affected. The situation seems scary because scientists are just scratching the surface as extensive research and development of AI. AI is advancing rapidly (and it is more accessible to everybody).

Some believe that AI can create even more new jobs than ever before. According to this school of thought, AI will be the most significant job engine the world has ever seen. Artificial intelligence will eliminate low-skilled jobs and effectively create massive high-skilled job opportunities that will span all sectors of the economy.

For example, if AI becomes fully adapt to language translation, it will create a considerable demand for high-skilled human translators. If the costs of essential translations drop to nearly zero, this will encourage MORE companies that need this particular service to expand their business operations abroad.

To those who speak different languages than the community in which they reside, this help will inevitably create more work for high-skilled translators, boost more economic activities. As a result of this, and more people will be employed in these companies due to the increased workload.

Boosting international trade it one of the most significant benefits of our global times. So yes, AI will eliminate some jobs, but it will create many, many more.

AI can be used extensively in the healthcare industry. It is applicable in automated operations, predictive diagnostics, preventive interventions, precision surgery, and a host of other clinical operations. Some individuals predict that AI will completelyreshape the healthcare landscape for the better.

And here are some of the applications of artificial intelligence in healthcare:

AI is also used in the agriculture industry extensively. Robots can be used to plant seeds, fertilized crops and administer pesticides, among a lot of other uses. Farmers can use a drone to monitor the cultivation of crops and also collect data for analysis.

The value-add data will be used to increase the final output. How? The data collected is analyzed by AI on such variables as crop health and soil conditions, boosting final production, and it can also be used in harvesting, especially for crops that are difficult to gather.

AI is changing the workplace, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. It is used to do lots of tedious and lengthy tasks, especially the low-skilled types of jobs that are labor-intensive. It means that employees will be retasked away from boring jobs and bring significant and positive change in the workplace.

For instance, artificial intelligence is used in the automotive industry to do repetitive tasks such as performing a routine operation in the assembly line, for example. Allowing a robot to care for well, robotic-tasks, has created a shift in the workforce.

Auto accidents are one of the most popular types of accidents that happen in America. It kills thousands of people annually. A whopping 95 percent of these accidents are caused byhuman error, meaning accidents are avoidable.

The number of accident cases will reduce as artificial intelligence is being introduced into the industry by the use of self-driving cars. On-going research in the auto industry is looking at ways AI can be used to improve traffic conditions.

Smart systems are currently in place in many cities that are used to analyze traffic lights at the intersections. Avoiding congestion leads to safer movements of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Conclusion

Artificial intelligence is very useful in all industries as more research is being done to advance it. The advancements in this AI tech will be most useful if it is understood and trusted. An important part of it is that artificial intelligence and related technologies such as drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles can create around tens of millions of jobs over the next decade.

Having more jobs created not less will be great news for everyone. More jobs will help boost the GDP of the economy. Advancement in AI and its impressive computational power has already led to the concept of supercomputers and beyond.

Elena Randall is a Content Creator Who works for Top Software Companies, provides a top 10 list of top software development companies within the world. She is passionate about reading and writing.

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Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence – HRF

Intelligence is described as the ability to adapt to new environments and situations and being able to understand consequences and effects that your actions cause. This is something that all living creatures have in some way or another. Animals adapt to their environments and react to interference, plants do the same. Human intelligence, however, is in an entirely different ball park. With the uprise of technology and advancements constantly being made, it has now come time to question the use of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, or AI, means giving non living things, such as computers and robots, the ability to think for themselves to an extent. What would this mean for the future? Would the economy, society, and the world as we know it change for the better or worse?

No BreaksOne of the biggest benefits to using machines with some level of artificial intelligence is that they could be utilized to do necessary jobs more efficiently. Machines do not need to take breaks in the way that humans do. They do not need to sleep, eat, or use the restroom. This would allow businesses to produce goods twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year.

Inhumane CircumstancesArtificial intelligence has allowed many avenues in research and exploration to develop and advance that would not have if it did not exist. This is especially true with space exploration. The satellites and rovers that are being sent in to space all of the time can stay there forever, and continue to reach further and further out into our solar system, giving us a much better understanding of what lays in the beyond.

No Emotional BarriersIntelligent machines do not have emotions. This is greatly beneficial because nothing interferes with their ability to perform the task they were designed to do. This is completely untrue with humans, many people find it difficult to work under very stressful conditions or during times of trauma.

Cost EfficientMachines do not need to receive a paycheck every month. While they are quite costly to maintain and power, this cost is greatly less than what an entire company full of human employees would have to be paid. The costs are also minimized and controlled.

Job LossWith the introduction of machines that can complete humans jobs quicker, more accurate, and cheaper, the rate of jobs lost is climbing. Ever since the introduction of factory machines people have been losing jobs to technologies.

Personal ConnectionsAnother large concern to think about when it comes to artificial intelligence is their lack of compassion and sympathy. If these robots are introduced into fields such as healthcare, how can we ensure the patients and customers comfort? Sure, they can be programmed to care, but it is not genuine.

Loss of InformationWe have seen it time and time again, and probably even experienced it once or twice, information being lost due to machine damages. The majority of our documents, videos and images are all stored on computers, phones, and other forms of technology. Many things can cause this information to be lost in an instant, and also non retrievable. This could pose very large problems if artificial intelligence is implemented in areas such as banks or healthcare.

Evolved?It may seem like a science fiction movie, but what would really happen if these artificially intelligent machines began to think for themselves, literally? It could pose major security risks, but it sure does make a great story line.

Technology and advancements in this field are happening, and they are happening very fast. It is something that we cannot and will not stop, so it is best to embrace the changing world we live in and take advantage of all of the incredible things that we have access to.

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Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence - HRF

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