Will Technology Really Help Stave Off Climate Change?

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This week saw the world’s leaders deliberate on climate change and the speed at which we are hurtling towards a future tainted by its clearly unavoidable impacts. It was the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, held at United Nations Headquarters in New York in an effort to advance global climate action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At the Summit, which attracted negative feedback from the media, environmentalists and advocacy groups around the world since day one of proceedings: U.S. and Brazil didn’t bother to show up, China and India largely re-stated existing goals, and commitments from other big emitters fell short of that necessary to hit the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s target of limiting global warming from rising by more than 1.5 degrees above pre industrial levels. 

At the conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a chord with the audience, urging people to maintain faith that future technology will be able to help stave off climate change. Her view was shared by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gave a speech in which he argued that “new advances (in technology) are making renewable energy ever cheaper, aiding our common struggle against climate change.”

Are any of these life-and-climate-changing technologies already in existence? If so, why haven’t they saved us yet? Perhaps more importantly, exactly what kinds of technologies are Merkel and Johnson anticipating will help dig us out of the colossal hole in which we have found ourselves?

Perhaps they refer to artificial intelligence (AI) – a tool that is not only playing a growing role in our everyday lives, but could also become a critical factor in helping to save the planet. Microsoft’s five-year, $50 million AI for Earth program awards grants to researchers and innovators trying to solve the world’s greatest environmental challenges using AI to maximize their potential. Researchers supported by dedicated development teams around the world are using the technology to explore untapped parts of the earth, places otherwise too dangerous or difficult to explore. Polar scientist Joseph Cook, for example, is using Al to analyze satellite data for mapping changing ice surfaces over the cryosphere over time, to determine their melting rate.

GPS technology has similarly been hailed a potential game-changer for global greenhouse gas emissions. By using data gained from GPS mapping systems, vehicle fleet operators can make their operations more efficient, reduce unnecessary idling and streamline their journeys and business practises. This is significant, because the transportation sector is responsible for roughly 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, the most important contributor of climate change. 

Solar technology has also been developed for use for many years now, but it is only now that people – and business – are truly harnessing the technology for its value and potential. 

While solar power plants are capital-intensive ventures, with the equipment guaranteed to serve only a relatively short lifespan of perhaps several decades, maintenance costs are relatively marginal and the fuel is free, so this appears to be one of the most straightforward paths to minimising greenhouse gas emissions through offering an alternative to the burning of more traditional fuel – fossil fuels. Solar technology has come a long way in recent years, with improved efficiencies in the manufacturing process one factor for the reduced costs of solar technology of late. 

And then there are far-fetched technologies which have only been developed as pilot projects, since they are still too risky to produce en masse. Take, for example, the ‘drone that pollinates’, which has been developed by researchers in Japan, and which is currently undergoing testing as a ‘bee alternative’. Or, the plane that emits only water. Unfortunately, said plane seats only four people, including the pilot. Regardless, it runs purely off an electrical current from a supply of hydrogen and oxygen, aided only by a battery.

The UN itself is perhaps one of the most significant supporters of technology as a means of addressing climate change. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has publicly been an advocator of “bioenergy with carbon capture  and storage” for some time now. This process depends on growing plants purely for energy production, otherwise known as “energy crops” that absorb CO2 as they grow – and capturing the CO2 released when power is generated from them. The biggest hurdle at this stage? Crops grown for biofuel would be competing for land needed to grow food crops to support our ever-growing global population.

Preventing climate change is simple. All you have to do is stop using fossil fuels and plant a huge number of trees. Every business, start-up and non-profit organisation to date that has attempted to undertake the overwhelming task of solving our environmental woes and putting an end to climate change through the use of technology has utterly failed. Why is this? Well, because the task is now simply too big, too demanding, too arduous for one company, or entity, or country, technology  or person to take on. 

Technology won’t save us now, but continued advocacy for sustainable choices, a global community of more empowered individuals, a reduced emphasis on profit, better global leadership and more scientific research, all supported by technology might just help us make a tiny bit of difference at this stage. That’s the best we can hope for.

The Widespread Housing Crisis in California and Assembly Bill 1482

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The constantly rising prices in home rentals and properties in California has prevailed since the 1970s during which a number of constraints were placed on new home development by means of court ruling and progressive legislation. The California Environment Quality Act, which was enacted in 1970, is one of the Acts that greatly affect housing development, requiring state and local authorities to consider the probable negative effects of housing development projects on the environment, while deciding whether to grant approval, without needing to take into account the subsequent benefits that the projects will yield. 

In 1971, the California Legislature passed regulations dictating that a city’s zoning and subdivision approval must be aligned with an adopted general plan. After 1971, the general plan was considered to be the constitution for future development with the California government controlling the use of land instead of allowing the citizens to meet their own housing needs. This caused the housing prices to double. In addition, the Federal Endangered Species Act, enforced in 1973, has caused the removal of millions of acres of land nationally from the available land of evolving metropolitan areas, restricting housing development and significantly driving up the prices of land. This continual introduction of land use and development regulations resulted in the occurrence of a situation in which homebuilding has been unable to keep up with housing demand, creating a housing shortage, which in turn has been driving property prices and rent to the extent that California is now one of the USA’s least affordable housing markets.

The increase in property rent in California is due to the state having a large number of people who have opted to rent houses instead of becoming a homeowner themselves. The homeownership rate in the state was equal to the national rate from 1950 into the 1960s. However, by 2005, the state’s homeownership rate was 13.3 percent below the recorded national average rate, and in the second quarter of 2018, the rate was 54.3 percent, which was 10 percent below the national average rate. As late as 1970, the median single-family home price in the state was very close to the national average. Due to the regulatory constraints, the median home prices started to exceed the national average. In late 2018, the median home price in the state was $535,000 and the national average was found to be only $275,000.

California is ranked first among the states in terms of poverty, which is due to the perpetual high costs of housing. In addition, housing affordability has also been a problem in the state when incomes are compared to housing costs. These housing costs are shelter costs, including house rents and mortgage repayments. Renters in the state are more likely to struggle more in comparison with homeowners with and without mortgages. A research conducted in 2017 showed that 82.3 percent of the renters, 54.1 percent of the homeowners with mortgages and 25.6 percent of the homeowners without mortgages were cost-burdened. Those who couldn’t bear the costs of housing were forced to live on the streets. Currently, there are approximately 130,000 homeless people in California, and more than 47 percent of the total homeless people in the nation live in the state.

To control this widespread housing crisis, a rent control bill, known as Assembly Bill 1482, will be enacted by the California government to control housing rent within the next few weeks, although the government has yet to make any major regulatory reforms to increase the supply of housing. After the enactment, the government will regulate housing rent by limiting the increase of rent by the property owners. Property owners will only be able to increase their rental by 5 percent every year, plus the local inflation rates.

However, there has been a discussion regarding the effectiveness of the bill once it is enacted. Based on a recent study that examined the results of rent control regulations, rent control reduces the supply and mobility of rental housing. A reduction in rental housing supply will likely drive up the market rent, doing the opposite of what the regulations were intended for. It has been suggested that the California government should instead reform the relevant development regulations, making changes to the land use laws by eliminating unnecessary restrictions.

Taking into consideration such housing crisis with no end in sight, homeowners in California should have wills written up to ensure that their residential properties will be correctly passed down to their heirs. In California, the assets of a person who has died without a will in place will either end up with the State or get distributed contrary to the person’s wishes. Therefore, homeowners should engage estate probate lawyers to have their wills written according to the laws. On the other hand. the state government should come up with a better solution that actually considers the root of the crisis instead of just reducing the extent of the consequences. 

Is Tech Making Real Estate More Profitable?

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Real estate investment offers extraordinary financial opportunities, but properties also take a lot of time and effort to effectively manage. With the rise of new technology, however, real estate is becoming more profitable than ever before. The proptech industry is changing everything from how we buy and sell property to daily management activities, and these improvements are also making the industry more profitable. 

The Nature Of Ownership

In order to understand what makes real estate so lucrative, it’s important to understand how properties are distributed. While apartment buildings are obviously owned by investors, with some units individually held, condos are increasingly becoming privatized; in Toronto, nearly 40% of condos are not owner occupied. Some of these may be second homes, but others are vacant or otherwise being rented out to tenants. This trend is increasingly common, both in other Canadian cities and in the United States. It also means that it’s not just huge conglomerates managing properties. There are a lot of investors with just a few properties trying to navigate this changing space.

Proptech’s Sales Shift

At the simplest level, proptech offers owners a simplified way of managing rental properties, from collecting rent to managing maintenance requests, but these tools are among the least remarkable. Rather, it’s the way that proptech facilitates sales that is having the greatest impact on the industry. 

Through new proptech-driven interfaces, buyers can now participate in 3-D viewings or schedule their viewings online, a growing number of independent owners can make sales without relying on a traditional broker as an in-between. Even the mortgage industry is taking the steps necessary to become digital-first. Stepping back from conventional mortgage offerings, new finance companies are supporting co-ownership models that can help people take steps toward ownership without taking out a conventional mortgage and which have the potential to reduce home ownership disparities. 

Cutting Operating Costs

Simple management programs have an obvious impact on cutting operating costs, but many real estate investors don’t realize just how sales-focused proptech can also boost net operating income. Net operating income specifically refers to whether a company or investment group has enough income to cover basic operating expenses like insurance, utilities, maintenance, and property taxes; it can be evaluated using a net income calculator. It isn’t a comprehensive financial evaluation, however, as net operating income ignores both income and expenditures outside daily management, including overall capital structure, income taxes, and company overhead. However, net operating income can provide a basic sense of how much it costs to operate a given property, as well as whether or not that property is generating enough income – it’s a good way to isolate a portion of a larger operation.

Companies using sales-focused proptech are better positioned to increase their basic operating expenses by cutting out a number of core real estate costs. Startup Opendoor, for example, is essentially a high-tech home-flipping service. The company will clean up a posted property, let users schedule their own tours, sans agent guidance, and even accept bids on the property. Considering how much owners and buyers typically pay to agents for their services in the course of a sale, as well as how much time agents spend performing labor that doesn’t directly generate income, such platforms offer an opportunity for all participants to shift into more immediately profitable roles.

Competition For Market Share

The current proptech revolution has been in process for years now, but ultimately what will make or break a given company is how much market share they’re able to claim. In addition to Opendoor, there’s also Redfin, Offerpad, and Knock, as well as traditional real estate and banking companies like Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker moving to offer iBuying options. And, of course, there are also sites like Zillow that are looking to shift from showing listings to facilitating sales more directly. It’s a crowded market and none of the players are quite identical, but they’re likely to look more and more alike as they each launch additional services. 

As various proptech firms compete for the home sales market, they should also be mindful of how their current offerings could serve the apartment market. These tools could help boost landlords’ income by automating or facilitating many of the same activities that they support for owners looking to sell – scheduling tours or providing virtual ones, managing background and credit checks, and generally removing a lot of the labor typically performed by office managers. Even larger property owners could potentially do away with these administrative roles, or cut back on them significantly, by implementing new proptech.

The Human Touch

Exactly how proptech will be used is sure to vary based on both owners and potential consumers, but anyone who’s worried about the importance of professional expertise and the value of the human touch can rest easy. Several companies currently specialize in pairing digital users with agents, and while the profit potential is high with proptech, landlords are unlikely to do away with all office support. Housing is still a community-driven field and landlords want to facilitate connection in whatever way their audience of potential tenants demands.

Qualification Exams Cause Headaches for Teachers and Students Alike

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Standardized testing is such an ingrained part of life in public and private schools, all the way through graduate school and beyond, that we’ve begun to take for granted the profound impact that they have on our personal and professional lives. Meanwhile, the scope of these tests has been widening, and the consequences for passing or failing can be far-reaching and life-altering. Prospective students understand this dilemma all too well; just past the midway point of their high school careers, students around the country must study for a day long process of examinations and essays, the scores of which will determine their future trajectory through life in major ways, affecting college admissions and thereby future job prospects and salaries. But there is usually only a day or two given to the testing itself; students must still struggle to stay on top of an already demanding educational curriculum, and some sections of the test will likely focus on material they haven’t even covered yet.

The disconnect between a student’s real life situation and the expectations of standardized testing are starting to become a subject of hotly contested debate in areas where the standards are changing. And the testing doesn’t stop after high school; for many college majors there are required professional certification exams in order to fully qualify to work in any given field. Depending on the field or specialization, the level of certification can be genuinely mind-boggling. Physicians studying sleep medicine, for instance, have a 12 to 15 year educational term before they even have a chance to become board certified in that one specific area of expertise, usually amassing a wide array of general and specialized knowledge in a variety of different medical fields along the way. 

The path to success on a certification exam can be fraught with difficulty and confusion as well. There are myriad groups offering many different kinds of assistance with preparation for these exams, and prospective test takers have few ways to evaluate their quality for jumping in. A prospective fitness trainer studying for the NASM test will be presented with dozens of outlets offering study materials. Some are more trustworthy than others, and materials can go out of date quickly as the test makers change the nature of the examination at the behest of the groups that regulate certification in any given field.

The woes of standardized testing seem to only intensify after students leave high school or college and enter the professional world. Common sense seems to dictate that professionals in training should be evaluated mostly by their mentors and teachers, class grades, and the quality of their coursework, project work, and dissertations, if applicable. But certification exams can play an inordinately large role. Teachers are among the professionals most affected by certification requirements that can change drastically, with consequences even for teachers that have already been working for years.

The issue of certification and qualification exams for teachers is one that certainly seems to lack a consensus. Some claim that the tests are too easy, resulting in a low quality of teachers across the board. These detractors point out that most people have fond memories of only a handful of inspiring teachers across their educational career, meaning that there is a lot of dead weight likely hanging around as a result of lax testing standards, but this view ignores the reality of a drastic shortage of teachers of all levels of experience and talent, while most teachers currently working are woefully underpaid and overworked. Nor is inspiration necessarily a benchmark for educational success; no one feels inspired when their doctor explains to them what’s wrong with their heart, but they still come away in the best scenario with a fundamentally better understanding of their medical condition than they had going in.

The problem for teachers and certification exams is that changes to requirements can force teachers to re-certify themselves and undergo testing again, resulting in a potential loss of employment if they fail to meet the new requirements. This complaint is at the heart of a lawsuit against Pearson on behalf of teachers in Florida. The teachers claim that the test itself is unfair, while the failure rate is exorbitantly high (earning money for Pearson as teaching students have to pay to retake the exam) and the grading process unnecessarily opaque.

In some areas, failure rates are startlingly high. Failure rates on the elementary level teacher exam are higher than 50%, and most teachers complain that they are tested on content above their level (and the level of their students), while their classes mostly prepared them to understand different teaching methodologies and classroom dynamics. This disconnect results in potentially high-quality teachers being kept out of the system entirely in some cases.

This disconnect between true ability and what is measured on a certification exam results in losses for everyone involved in the educational system, and increased scrutiny may result in some changes in the future.

Ripe For Disruption By AI: The Fashion Industry

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Artificial intelligence. These two words – also often referred to by the acronym AI – have been ingrained into the vernacular of every 21st century businessperson, every millenial, every remotely technological person on planet earth today. AI technology has potential for application across a vast number of fields, including agriculture, healthcare, energy and mining, IT, manufacturing and intellectual property, but there is one particular area where we are only beginning to see the rumblings of disruption brought about by AI. The fashion world.

It currently sits as one of the world’s largest industries, representing around 4 percent of global gross domestic profit (GDP) and estimated to be worth about three trillion dollars in value as of 2018. Not only that, but fashion remains one of the past decade’s rare economic success stories, growing at roughly 5.5 percent annually, according to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index. The fashion industry would in fact be the world’s seventh-largest economy if ranked alongside individual countries’ GDP. The market value and the opportunities this presents are simply enormous. It’s no wonder then, that we are beginning to see signs that people are putting some serious thought into how artificial intelligence can pump new life into the industry. From enhancing design, aiding creativity, making the manufacturing process more efficient than ever, to helping with the retail side of things and enhancing customer support after purchase, we are certainly beginning to see the ripple effect of AI’s application in other industries as it begins to shape the future of fashion.

With respect to customer service, AI certainly has the power to redefine how fashion businesses engage and interact with their customers. Perhaps the most value AI offers business owners is the ability to gain rich customer insight through datasets, dynamic pricing and AI-led customer relationship management. Any business owner be it of a small, medium or large enterprise can benefit from the latter, in fact. Take an online boutique selling modest dresses for women, for example. Using AI technology, it could have chatbots interact with potential customers online to gather data and generate responses based on cues provided by the customer. Not only does this collect meaningful information about what customers want but at the same time it gives immediate answers to customers, ensuring a satisfactory buying experience for them. Tommy Hilfiger is just one example of a bigger brand name already doing this, with bots managing conversations with live people and tailoring response content to their interests.

But the online store isn’t the only place where the shopping experience can be revolutionised by AI: inside the physical store, AI-derived data can also inform layout choices and in-store experience. Using tools like automatic customer recognition, digital mirrors that allow customers to compare different colour and style combinations, and AI-enabled technology to improve inventory management, the in-store experience can become a whole lot less confusing and a lot more streamlined for everyone involved. Inventory management is perhaps a key area where AI has visible benefits for retail outlets. AI-enabled technology and programs can forecast anticipated trends, detect where items are running low in stock and automatically reorder those items, and ease the burden of the entire inventory process by automating everything. 

One non-retail brand playing with the idea of  AI-enabled digital mirrors is Facebook. It’s latest feature, Fashion++, uses a deep image-generation network to make customised suggestions for peoples’ outfits using algorithms that focus on small improvements to existing outfits. With suggestions including add a belt, tuck in shirt and pair with a black and gold bag, the feature has the power to put even the most unlikely fashionistas on the right track. 

Throughout the design and manufacturing process, AI technology can help retailers predict upcoming trends and future consumer preferences by analysing data floating around the internet and using algorithms to determine which looks or styles are getting the most hits. This particular application is a gamechanger for those in the fashion industry, with demand projections fuelled by AI able to reduce forecasting errors by up to 50 percent. Throughout manufacturing processes, AI technologies can improve the efficiency and quality of manufacturing, through detecting errors in finished textiles and generally automating the process wherever possible, allowing humans to focus on any higher value decision-making that needs doing. Following this, supply chain tracking and inventory management can also be revolutionised through AI, with AI already being used to manage and optimize supply chains, reduce shipping costs and minimise transit time. 

2019 has been deemed ‘the year of awakening’ for the fashion world by worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which earlier this year released a statement saying “The ones that will succeed will have come to terms with the fact that in the new paradigm taking shape around them, some of the old rules simply don’t work”. Industry foresight shows that regardless of size and segment, players of the fashion world now need to be nimble, think digital-first, and achieve ever-faster speed to market. It looks as though now would be a very good time for fashion retailers to jump aboard the AI bandwagon, in that case…

The Global Financial Market And The State Of PCI DSS Compliance

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Since the turn of the millennium, the internet and technology have ultimately revolutionized the way we live. AI, cloud, and big data are continuously disrupting all industries, forcing all businesses along the way to evolve or go home. The global financial market has not been left out.  It has experienced tremendous changes over the past two decades and is currently one of the most sophisticated industries.

For instance, gone are the days when consumers had to carry hard cash as they can now make payments using credit and debit cards. Now, the number of card payments done in a day has increased dramatically and is predicted to reach 60 million by the year 2026. Mobile banking is also at the heart of business operations, and similar to card payments has also changed the way of doing things. 

Even though there’s no denying these changes have simplified things, they also come with risks. For instance, with the convenience of card payments and mobile banking comes the risk of identity theft, which even though it affects both parties, tends to affect the consumers more.

What’s even more appalling is that all sorts of businesses, whether small or large, are at the risk of a security breach. Already, major companies such as Target and JPMorgan Chase have been victims. The good news, however, is that being PCI DSS Compliant can help businesses in the global financial market protect both business and consumer data.

What Is PCI DSS Compliance?

Contactless payments such as credit and debit cards are not a new thing. They have been in play since the late 90s. The only difference between today and then is that these payments have evolved to become better and easier. However, they present the same risks as back then, only that today, the risk is much higher. What does any of this have to do with PCI DSS Compliance?

Well, PCI DSS Compliance is a set of standards that were developed in 2004 to ensure that any business accepting electronic payments protects consumer data. In other words, they exist to ensure enterprises do their part in protecting consumers from the risks associated with data breaches such as identity theft and fraudulent activities. Even though it mostly protects the consumer, PCI DSS Compliance also safeguards the wellbeing of the business in several ways as shown below

  • Prevents Problems with the Authorities

As noted, PCI DSS is a set of policies that every business is expected to implement. Failure to do so results in penalties and fines. Thus being compliant protects businesses from such penalties.

  • Safeguards the Future of the Business

When transacting with an entity, every consumer wants to be assured that their information will be kept safe. So when a data breach occurs and customer data stolen, both current and potential clients lose confidence in the business. This, in turn, affects its continuity as customers are more likely to turn to its compliant competitors, forcing the latter to shut down.

Additionally, when a data breach occurs, the business in question is not only forced to pay hefty fines to the federal government but also the customers who decide to use it. A ruined reputation and substantial penalties are enough to force a business to call it quits.  

Thus, being compliant not only keeps penalties at bay but also safeguards the future of the entity by boosting consumer confidence hence ensuring continuity.

A Look At The State Of PCI DSS Compliance in The Global Financial Markets

As you can see, PCI DSS Compliance policies were created with the sole aim of protecting both the business and consumers from costly data breaches. Thus, you’d expect all entities accepting credit cards and mobile banking payments to do their part in being compliant. Surprisingly, this is not the case, and despite the rise in costly data breaches over the last decade, most firms are yet to be compliant.

According to a survey conducted by Verizon in 2016, only 55.4% of firms in the global financial markets are compliant. While on the one hand, this is a significant increase, on the other hand, it shows that almost half of enterprises are exposing their clients to the risk of identity theft by failing to comply. Some of the reasons behind this failure include

  • Inability or Failure to Segment Networks

The inability to isolate payment data from the rest of the company’s data is one of the main reasons why firms are still struggling with PCI DSS Compliance. For instance, in the case of Target’s data breach, hackers seamlessly accessed consumer data because the American retailer had not segmented its network.

  • Using Basic Configurations.

Most organizations often use basic configurations. According to Verizon, approximately 48.9% of organizations use vendor-supplied passwords instead of creating stronger and tough to hack system passwords and logins. This automatically means failure to comply with the demands of PCI DSS requirement 2.

Other Reasons Behind PCI DSS Compliance Failure

  • Avoiding or being complacent about data encryption
  • Slacking on reporting
  • Failure to invest in more secure network architecture

What Can You Do?

If you own a business and accept card payments, then you’re part of the global financial market. Hence, it’s your role to ensure your consumers are protected through PCI DSS compliance. However, implementing all PCI DSS policies can be hard, which is why most businesses fail in the first place. You can, however, save yourself the trouble by allowing an experienced PCI DSS vendor to handle the process. Therefore, be sure to check us out for more information!

Platooning to fleet management systems are the future of commercial vehicles

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The autobot of Transformers, a movie released in 2007, may still not be a reality but technology in the heavy vehicles industry is fast moving to something similar.  The traditional conservative transport and trailer industry is racing toward the fourth industrial revolution and digitization.

The global automotive market is following electrification, digitization and connectivity trends that will lead to the gradual adoption of autonomy.  The commercial vehicles industry is looking to a future where all the players in the segment, from tire manufacturers, auto part makers, to receiving auto quotes, will operate from a single platform allowing for seamless operation. This will happen with  telematics-based solution that use Big Data and artificial intelligence analytics to monitor vehicles and tires in real time taking note of freight situations, temperature maintenance, breakdowns, and driver health and more.

A study by Deloitte reveals that the global market share for telematics solutions in commercial vehicles will be worth  EUR 10 billion by 2026. Software solution will form 80 percent of the share and the remaining 20 percent will comprise of  hardware.

The study also predicts slow or stagnant growth in the heavy and medium commercial vehicles market in the next few years due to a slowdown in the global economy.  Also greater adoption of digitization and telematics will further lead to efficiency in services requiring fleets able to perform at higher and better capacity

The study says the growing urbanization will change the way commercial vehicles business will be conducted. Logistics will change with lighter commercial vehicles being used more due to their better access and for last mile connectivity.  Well organized urban distribution networks will reduce the need for more heavier commercial vehicles less.

According to trend studies in the industry , larger fleets will be more in demand with customers demanding consolidation of logistics services.  Manufacturers like Scania, DAF, Iveco, MAN, Volvo and Daimler are already experimenting with platooning technology in the United States. Platooning means a fleet of digitally-connected large trucks moving as a train following a lead driver. These trucks travel just a few metres  apart at a constant speed and can save up to 15 percent of fuel through reduced drag.

In Australia, driverless commercial vehicles are in use since 2015.  Two mining sites in Pilbara already use fully remote-controlled trucks to move iron ore.

Another study by Mckinsey &Company revealed that the next 10 years will determine the speed of assimilation of fully automated trucks . It predicts that a third of all new premium trucks in the West would have Level 4 automation — meaning self-driving on highways — by 2025.

In Australia, trucks have to cover long distances due to its scattered urban population, which makes it ideal testing ground for autonomous technology.  According to Rita Excell, executive director of the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative, truck platooning and high levels of automation could revolutionize the Australian road freight sector, which transports 2 billion metric tons of goods a year over 17 billion kilometres.

 More than fleet management, such technology will take care of employment challenges in the industry. There are concerns that it will cost some jobs but it is believed that this new technology will make the task safer and comfortable for drivers.

“While there absolutely remains a place for a heavy vehicle driver, there is little doubt their role will change over time in response to automated technologies,” Excell noted. Drivers will still be in  control in heavily congested areas in city centers, she added. Another advantage of tech adoption can be monitoring the driving quality and providing certification for the same, and improvement modules.

Another concern for the industry is the public sentiment  about the safety of such vehicles. A recent poll determined that the world over nearly 85 percent of people were not convinced about the safety of driverless vehicles. 

“Perhaps the biggest hurdle that currently exists is winning the hearts and minds of the public,” Excell said. With driverless vehicles being the transport of the future within the next decade as predicted by various studies , it is imperative that manufacturers and other actors with a stake in the technology work toward wider acceptance in the community.

A major move forward for the industry is the open-ended telematics solution platforms, which allow commercial fleet owners to download value-added applications that improve efficiency and the workings of the systems on the scalable platforms. Driver training apps, freight checking, temperature and pressure monitoring apps, all can be downloaded on need basis with minimal costs.  In the near future, telematics software vendors, manufacturers of auto parts and other service providers can integrate and offer one stop-solutions to all fleet requirements. Drivers, carriers, freighters, dealers, service stations etc can receive and process data from everyone involved in the logistics network in real time– from the condition of the truck, the  goods being carried, traffic and weather conditions, to necessities for pit stops and more. 

The commercial vehicle industry will transform from a product-based model to a service- based business model.  Fort & Sullivan estimate that the connectivity industry in commercial freight carriers will reach $284 billion by 2022. The truck of the future will very soon be carrying a fleet management system hosting all the value services needed to run an economical, efficient transporting service.

Law industry revolutionised in the face of technological advancement

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Now that we live in the humble (but nonetheless immensely impressive) beginnings of the digital era, it is undeniably clear that every aspect of modern life has been transformed in some way. Digitalisation and technological advancement form the basic framework that practically every aspect of modern life functions and thrives upon. Take law, for example. This is an industry that has always been driven by data, but now it is also an industry that is driven by the technological advancements that procure and elevate that data to new, more efficient heights. Being such a data-driven industry from the onset, law has continued to evolve and expand with the times with relative ease. Now, the current iteration of the global legal industry is more efficient than ever, and it is largely thanks to the ongoing technological advancements that continue to shake up the industry and propel it to the next big thing. Further, the advancement show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Legal technologies are becoming more and more advanced every other day, and this is a process that, like it or not, is not likely to slow its pace any time soon. Technological innovation in the legal sector is something that has always been an inevitability. Going forward, it is a motion that will only continue to become more and more exciting and innovative. Already this is an industry that has been transformed in all the best ways through technological association and digital enhancement, and there is nowhere to go but up from here on out. Regardless of which party it is that is in question in the law industry, it is safe to say that they have been impacted by the rise of technological advancement in one way or another (and sometimes even in multiple ways). The modern faculty of law is the way it is because of these modern innovations, and they are just now kicking into high gear. This means that the best is certainly yet to come.

Whether you are an individual seeking out an accredited personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, or a lawyer working to increase efficiency in your office environment, or anything in between, technological advancement has come a long way in redefining how the worldwide law industry is perceived and how it operates from the inside out. Automation has changed the convenience and efficiency of which the law industry operates from the inside out. Technological enhancement has transformed the processes and systems tenfold. Ongoing advancements in law technology have seen the rise of enhanced criminal and victim profiling – a technological revolution that has fundamentally changed the way that crimes are solved, forever. On and on the list goes, and it will continue to build going into the future. Today, there is a lot to be said about the incredible movements in law at the hands of technology. Tomorrow, there is much hope and promise in regards as to where this technology will take the industry next, and what is possible in the future of the law industry.

Most interestingly, is that these advancements have not always been met with the utmost excitement and positivity. In fact, many technological advancements in the law industry were, to begin with, highly criticised. Many believed that these innovations were nothing more than passing trends, that they would disappear as the days went on. But as time went on, and these technological innovations proved themselves to be immensely valuable time and again, it became strikingly clear that not only were they not going anywhere, but that they were only going to become more pronounced as time went on. Law is one of the most profoundly impacted industries in the wake of technological advancement today. It is also one of the most data-driven, which means that every single technological (or otherwise) innovation is designed to elevate the nature of law both fundamentally and on the surface level, every single time and with each new iteration.

We live in a modern era that is paved to the edges with digitalisation and technological advancement. Every possible aspect of life as we know it has been fundamentally transformed from the inside out – many are still being transformed to this day, and will continue to be going forward for the foreseeable future. The law industry, for example, has always been a data driven sector, but in the face of rising tides of technological advancement, it has become clearer and clearer over time that these ongoing innovations are just becoming stronger. Technological advancement has done a world of good for the international legal sector, and it continues to do so. Through enhancements in legal technologies, automation, heightened criminal and victim screening, advanced programs and systems, and stronger efficiency across the board (among many others) have become central innovations. Today, the legal industry is more capable than ever. Tomorrow, it will become more so than ever.

The Inductive Reasoning Test

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Inductive tests were introduced as an aptitude examination for potential employers to assess the suitability of a candidate. The rise of its popularity has also seen an increase in online inductive reasoning test practices. These tests are able to measure a person’s cognitive abilities and the capacity for thinking both conceptually and analytically, which is why it has become a go-to tool for many businesses.

In order to prepare for one of these tests, one should familiarize oneself with what it entails. From seeking patterns and determining the consecutive image in a sequence of three pictures, to choosing the odd pattern out, it is a test of logic and mental capabilities. It also goes by the name of Abstract Reasoning Test.

The objective is to identify the pattern as quickly as possible and the way to do this is to compare each image with each other. Look at the information provided – size, color, location, shape? Determine what is constant and what is changing and figure out the rules to the pattern. There are no hard and fast rules, nor are there any written data or information to help you along. The main purpose is to test how quickly you grasp the concept without instruction – which shows potential employers whether you are able to think on your feet and how intuitive you are – and it also pinpoints how well your problem solving and decision making skills are. All three of which are traits of what employers hope to find in their employees. It may even help with the job.

For instance, it is a way of analyzing information. If you find online practice tests repetitive, you can also look at raw data of your relevant field and try to process that. Perhaps financial statements for accounting firms, statistical tables for a company or even how people use social media. You could also invite your friends to participate in such tests with you and treat it as a fun way to train both your reflexes. This will also train you to be more time-sensitive and help you finish the assessment in a timely fashion. The quicker it takes for you to complete a test, the more capable you will seem. It will ultimately help you sort through data a lot quicker and you will be able to process it faster. This can also show your potential employer your penchant for the job and your determination.

It might seem a bit unfair that after all the time you have spent at university, sitting for exams and preparing for the “real world” that you should be met with another examination before you are able to lock in your dream job. However, according to Huffingtonpost, aptitude and psychometric tests are becoming commonplace in the workforce as it helps employers weed out candidates as efficiently as possible. From logic, to numbers, to verbal and abstract, all of theses tests are designed to find the most suitable candidate.

They do not care that they might accidentally eliminate a potential talent which might have become an asset to their company. They care more about hiring one that will be entirely suited to their company through his level of skill, qualifications and personality. Some of these tests can even determine whether an individual has the same vision as the company (or if they are able to align easily).

There are a few things that one should bear in mind when sitting for such a test. Pace yourself, and since it is time-sensitive, do not get stuck on any question. Come back to it if you have the time after you’ve finished the entire paper, but certain questions are hard on purpose – that is a test in itself to see how you will act under duress or stress. Having an unfinished assessment speaks worse than one that only have one unanswered question, so be smart about it.

If you are more confident regarding your interpersonal skills, it might be a good idea to have a sit down with your potential employer beforehand and communicate with them on how you view the test. There are individuals who simply do not do well on examinations but may have a slew of skills that are beneficial to any company that decide to hire them. Do not let performance anxiety get in the way, especially if you are confident that you are able to sell your skills and what you can bring to the table well – there is clearly no test in the world that is able to encapsulate one’s charisma or confidence when it comes to pitching proposals. Who knows, if you are truly good enough, you might be able to talk your way out of sitting for the assessment at all.

Thousands of students are drawn to overseas study

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The modern approach to education is one that, quite frankly, is still taking shape. The modern era that we now live in is one that has, without a doubt, taken hold of modern marvels digitalisation and technological advancement. We are more interconnected than ever, and a large part of the reason why that is, centres around the truth that technology has changed life as we knew it. Today, every aspect of modern life – including, as it turns out, education and travel respectively – is changing significantly, and the transformations are far from over. In the education industry, one of the most prominent evolutions is the introduction of mainstream abroad study. While students have been studying overseas for a while, this is a concept that has only relatively recently taken flight, becoming a mainstream sensation all around the globe. Making the decision to study overseas is not a decision to take lightly. Temporarily uprooting your life to maintain your studies while simultaneously exploring a new part of the world takes courage, guts, and determination – but alas, it is a trend that is continuously on the rise.

It is not uncommon for a student to want to quite literally run away when they are stressed out of their minds, thinking “I wish I didn’t have to write my research paper at this same old desk, in this same old place”. What has been uncommon, at least up until recently, is the number of students who actually take action on that thought, researching and then applying to study overseas for a change of pace and a life experience that will inspire them to continue to work hard towards their degree. Now, it is more surprising to encounter someone who knows nobody who has taken on abroad study – even if it is not they themselves. Around the globe, more and more eager and bright-eyed students are taking on the challenge of taking their studies across the ocean for a semester or two. There is an undeniable appeal in travelling abroad that seeks to expose students to a whole new world, while allowing them to live and continue learning (essentially, giving those students the best of both worlds, both collectively and respectively).

The appeal of studying abroad is one that continues to attract the attention of students from all over the world, but why exactly is that? At the end of the day, there is something profoundly exciting about going on an academic endeavour that seeks to give you the chance to better yourself in every sense, while allowing you to continue flourishing academically. Students who study abroad are often the very same individuals who are willing and able to jump out of their comfort zone and take a leap of faith to explore something exciting and fresh. And what could be more exciting and fresh than experiencing a new part of the world while you simultaneously work towards the future you have been building up to through your studies? As if that were not appealing enough, there is a definitive appeal in doing something different than your peers, while maintaining the same level of course content – what better way is there to be inspired by your studies than to study in a beautiful inspiring setting?

And then there is the professional edge that studying abroad gives you. Having a real-world experience on your resume throughout your academic career makes you stand out to potential employers once you graduate, and it does not get much more “real-world” than opting away from the traditional education experience and instead gravitating towards the more unique academic journey. You meet people you never would have otherwise, you exponentially expand your global network, you see the world, and you grow not only academically and intellectually, but personally. All these reasons and more are the bread and butter that ultimately make studying abroad such an appealing approach to modern education. If ever there was a take on education that perfectly balances between traditional ideals and modern perceptions, it is without a doubt studying abroad study. Amid the rise of a modern era that is paved with good intentions and technological enhancements, it should come as no surprise that the world we live in today is more interconnected than ever.

Practically every industry there is – including, as it turns out education and travel respectively – has undergone its fair share of transformation. In education, one of the most prominent (and ongoing) transformations thus far is the mainstream introduction and ongoing rising popularity of studying abroad. Students have been choosing to study overseas for a while, but in recent years it has become a global sensation, with thousands upon thousands of eager students applying to study somewhere new and exciting for a semester or two. Studying abroad is not for the faint hearted, but for those who do take the leap of faith, it is more rewarding than you could ever imagine. The rise of abroad study continues to surge, and there are no signs of it slowing down.