Awakened but so Very Asleep (the Tragedy of Today)

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Through the internet and through social media, you could say that we are now at a time of unparalleled connectivity. We are aware of global as well as national issues and a click away from friends and family members. 

With technology and social media on the rise, the possibilities seem endless. However, could too much connectivity be (ironically) fostering more disconnection instead? When does social media become more of a detriment to society than a benefit?

For some of us, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is like coffee in the morning and we are now beginning to think about things like social media as an addiction, something that distracts from reality instead of heightening it. 

We are beginning to have to talk seriously about our kids, glued to their phone screens for most of their waking days (and nights). We are beginning to think about digital dependency and the effects of this type of addictive, compulsive behavior on mental health. 

A study found that the average Brit checks their phone as much as 28 times a day. Although smartphones can be a great help to people with busy lifestyles, the issue arises when this sort of compulsive behavior does nothing to add value to life and instead takes something away from your life. We now have to ask ourselves whether we are really just wasting our time when we could be doing so much more with ourselves.

Is this what we’ve become?

Though there is a lack of research in the field of social media and mental health, there are many studies showing that an overindulgence in social media can create feelings of unhappiness and isolation. You may have been there before. Scrolling through your Instagram feed and seeing those perfectly filtered photos. An age of narcissists that (again ironically) indulge in voyeurism to possibly drown out deep self-esteem issues, all while bringing down the self-esteem of others in a dark, depressing loop. 

You pay your dues to how other people see you in life, comparing, coveting…

It’s all deeply unsettling and tragically unhealthy, to say the least. 

Our lives become the stage show of others, reality TV replaced by a sick pseudo-fantasy reality (if that’s even a word). 

We scroll through our tweets, watching the numbers go up, craving acceptance while sinners and keyboard warriors and trolls lurk in the shadows.

Blue light (emitted from your smartphone) before bedtime contributes to poor quality sleep. Feelings of loathing and self-doubt creep in as you start comparing yourself and the crappiness of your life, your blotchy skin, your moles with the picture-perfect, statuesque beings beamed at you from your screen.

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that there are many Facebook users who are suffering from “Facebook envy”, making them particularly depressed. When the users were made to take a break from Facebook, they were found to be more satisfied with their lives. 

By limiting the amount of time that you spend scrolling through social media, you can let real life seep in in all its imperfect and beautiful glory. 

Spend more time with your loved ones and on loving yourself. Being connected to people in the virtual world may actually be making you lonelier

Envy is not the only thing wrong with social media. This engine of connection may actually be causing us to drift apart and to not be truly present, lost in the moment (you must have seen those pictures of a table full of people all staring at their phones). Those people around you are real, they’re living, breathing, they’re there…

Social media marketing can also be a big contributor to a toxic culture of insane consumerism. Can you blame us for becoming compulsive buyers when we’re being attacked by products through so many different channels? From CBD stores to streetwear fashion, ecommerce has permeated the platform. 

It doesn’t just stop at buying things that you don’t need or the financial difficulties that can come with that. Some people have actually reportedly improved the quality of their lives after a digital detox and global research consultancy, Kantar TNS through a study found that millennials spend about 3.8 hours a day, a day in a week and about 49 days a year on their phones, with their priorities on social media rather than on other forms of media. There are also some people who are far worse off, with two days in a week and about a hundred days in a year spent on their smartphones, playing mobile games, scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… 

Becoming conscious is a much-needed priority and (again ironically) after the great distance that human civilization appears to have crossed in our development as a species, our amazing abilities have only really gotten us so far. 

Look at the studies. They show us that social media may be contributing to a large number of the cases of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses among the youth. 

The battle may be for acceptance or it may be for nothing at all. Whatever the case, it could just be that the battle is in our own minds and with ourselves…

A Weapon of Mass Communication – Current Trends Driving Telecom Higher

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The telecommunications industry has seen and been through its fair share of revolutionary advancements and further developments. If you think about it, the telecommunications industry is one of the most global, consistently sought after industries in the world. Most people upgrade their phone to a newer version every two to three years, if not sooner. With 7.7 billion people on the planet, and most of them owning a phone, that is a significantly large turnover for cellular devices. Couple this with the fact that telecommunications technology is in a literally-constant state of evolution, and you get an industry and a consumer base that are always expecting and adapting to the most recent developments in the industry. There are various trends in the telecommunications sector, and all of them can work in alignment with one another to create what is essentially a seamless consumer experience, and ultimately a seamless global connectivity network.

The first trend currently making waves in the industry is also the one that has proven to be more than a trend – it has proven to be a constant feature in the sector. Today’s telecommunication companies have an innate focus on the customer experience, and it is that focus that is driving them to continuously higher peaks. The largest demographic that forms the telecommunications industry consumer base is now the millennial generation, as they are not only the demographic with the largest percentage of the global population, but they are the first generation to head future generations of tech-savvy, reliant consumers. As such, their opinions on the industry’s current running are more important than they have ever been before, and the telecommunications industry is more than willing to listen to them. This shift in consumer presence means that the industry has had to take note of how the world’s first digitally-impressed generation expect their communication (and their world) to operate. Customer service has always been an innate focus of many industries, the telecommunications industry included, but consumers have never been as focused on having the best of the best as they are now. They know what is the best mobile app for laundry payments, they know what food is being offered on various food delivery platforms, they know which VPN will help them stay secure. They basically they know what they can get and they want to make sure they get the best value for money. 

5G connectivity is just the first evolution of what is sure to be a constant strive for seamless technological connection and customer-experience success, and even that has sent waves of promise barrelling through the planet – and it is not even available for mainstream public consumption yet. Artificial intelligence (AI) is another trend that is currently set to significantly disrupt the telecommunications sector. 5G has many benefits, but one of its most exciting is the additional ability to take on another tech like AI. In short, AI can be used as a tool to improve how networks plan and manage themselves and their input and output. The idea is that operators will soon be able to predict customer demand ahead of time, which would ease off the use of tariffs. Additionally, it appears as if we are on the verge of augmented reality (AR) being a widespread integration into new phone models on the market. Essentially, the concept is that AR-enabled smartphones will be able to give users brand new experiences while enabling stronger, more acute personalisation in the process.

One of the biggest – and most ongoing – trends in the telecommunications industry is consumer loyalty. With so many innovations happening in the industry all the time, it can be hard for consumers to keep up with the latest and greatest that the telecommunications industry has to offer. It would be easy to assume that all telecom companies have the exact same services, products, and ideas to offer their customers, but the reality is that they do not. It is for this reason that telecom companies are in a constant battle to win consumers from their competitors, to reign in more consumers in the hope of effectively creating a stronger sense of consumer loyalty. The nature of telecommunication ensures that there will be continuous innovation and improvement, and telecom companies are the middle men, the ones charged with bridging the gap between industry know-how and consumer understanding. The companies that can give consumers the best deals, the best service, and the best access are the ones that will continue to reign as titans of industry.

Telecommunications is an industry that literally always finds itself in a constant state of evolution. As one upgrade in the system rolls through and becomes mainstream, another is right up the alley ready to wow consumers all over again. The current trends that are driving the telecommunications industry forward and to higher peaks are fine examples of the industry’s shift towards impressive and awe-inspiring levels of connectivity. From 5G bringing faster loading times and internet speed, to AI and AR turning the smartphone into a weapon of mass communication, the telecommunications industry continues to prove its unwavering value as the world’s most inter-connected industry.

Technology update in the stock market

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The internet has dramatically revolutionised a number of fields, not least of all that of the financial markets. From robo-advisors to bitcoin to online banking to big data and analytics, the possibilities are endless thanks to the advent of new technologies such as AI, automation and the IoT. Simply consider that 10 years ago we were walking into a bank to deposit money while today we can wire a sum of money to an international account with the press of a button. 

Fintech’  or financial technologies is the most rapidly growing field of technology in the world today, and encompasses the technology and innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services.The world of finance, including investment, has been completely and unarguably upended by fintech. And the trading of stocks and shares is no different. 

Many still associate share trading with in-person transactions on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), with all the hustle, bustle and excitement that it entails. But unfortunately for those who prefer a taste of the dramatic, share trading can now be as simple and as inhumane and un-interactive as the tapping of a button on a personal phone. 

While the NYSE still ensures that kind of visual is maintained in the eye of the stockholder, most trading today takes place privately, over computer systems owned by individuals. The trades are transacted via underground fibre-optic networks that carry messages between computer systems at banks and trading firms, into data centres that host a particular exchange’s trading engine. Apps and platforms are, it seems, the new NYSE, and there are several which are proving popular among modern traders.

Why is this, you wonder? Simply because there are typically lower costs associated with online traders, as trade commissions tend to be larger when it comes to in-person investing. For example, if you seek the help of an actual stockbroker, you can expect to pay roughly $30.99 per trade in commission. To make the same investment online, you might spend an average of $8.90. Online brokers are, in general, cheaper, mostly because they don’t have the cover the same overheads as stockbrokers who work in the more physical sense.

When it comes to finding a broker online, E-Trade is perhaps one of the best known online brokerage providers, with three different trade platforms available for users in addition to its market data, quotes, data analysis and other useful information and resources. Best of all., E-Trade offers plenty of commission-free funds. There are also broker platforms Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard, which has an average expense ratio of just 0.10%. Interactive Brokers is another that is recognised for its low cost but comprehensive service platform. 

Next, there are platforms dedicated entirely to stock market research. From Tradespoon (which offers a 7 day free trial) to StockFetcher.com, Yewno|Edge, TradingView and The Motley Fool Stock Advisor, there is no shortage of online tools and resources for analysing the stock market; assessing a company’s annual report performance, for example, and its annual return on investment (ROI). It’s now possible to access a wide range of stock market analysis tools online, such as stock screeners – which scan the entire market to give you information on average trading volume, price, chart patterns and so forth – charting software, and stock simulators. 

Now onto the platforms and websites that actually allow individuals to sidestep the broker and directly buy shares themselves. Apps like Robinhood Trading have made it easier than ever to access stock market trading, making it accessible to new types of traders with lower amounts of wealth than previous traders. That being said, RobinHood Trading doesn’t give traders access to a full range of investments like mutual funds, but it certainly works great for stocks and ETFs, and it recently added support for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

Acorns, however, is the app that is best for complete beginners with no idea how to go about the trading of shares. It describes itself as a site for ‘investing your spare change’, implying that there is no such thing as too small a trade. It’s so easy that once your bank account is linked, Acorns will track your regular spending and “round up” purchases to the nearest dollar, which is then used to make small investments via Acorns. It also automatically builds users a portfolio of stock and bond investments based on a brief questionnaire, helping build users a diverse, broad portfolio in line with their investment goals.

Between the countless apps, websites and downloadable digital tools that help traders invest in shares with more efficiency than ever before possible, it’s no wonder that a growing percentage of the approximate $US5,100,000,000,000 traded daily is traded online. 

Navigating high speed internet providers’ spectrum of services

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In the United States, there are approximately 2675 internet service providers (ISPs) providing various types of internet services categorized based on the means through which data is transferred.  The state of New York currently has 41 internet providers, and it is the 4th most connected state amongst the others. In most states, consumers are able to access to a variety of types of internet services, including DSL, cable, fiber and satellite-based internet services, each of those has its own defining features. Hence, confusion often arises when it comes to choosing one from these internet services, the process of which can be made simpler by understanding how the Internet works and how these services differ from one to another. Spectrum is the second largest internet provider in the United States. Spectrum is accessible to approximately 102.7 million people and provides both cable and fibre internet services. Its tiered pricing system is easy to understand, and it is what makes them stand out from the other competitors. They utilize a hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network to deliver wired broadband services. 

The Internet is a massive network of interconnected devices for data transmission purposes by means of the use of various types of wires, cables and antennas, alongside other types of devices forming part of the overall network infrastructure. Most computers come with built-in TCP/IP network capability. TCP/IP, which is Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol in full, is the language of the Internet. Comprising of four distinct layers, it is a set of standardized rules that enable TCP/IP-enabled computers on a network to communicate. Software programs interact with the application layer, the first layer, on which one can find numerous application protocols, including SMTP, FTP, HTTP and so forth. Different programs communicate with different application protocols, depending on the purposes of the programs. 

On the second layer, known as the transport layer, data sent from the first layer is divided into packets and these packets are delivered to the third layer, called the Internet Layer. On this layer, the assigned Internet Protocol (IP) gets the packets from the second layer and adds virtual address information, which is the IP addresses of the sender and receiver. The packets are then sent to the fourth layer. The fourth layer is the network interface layer that gets the packets, called datagrams on this layer, and deliver them over the network. Between two computers, the speed of datagram sending and receiving is affected by two factors, bandwidth and latency. Bandwidth is the maximum number of bits that can be transferred per unit time. Whereas, latency is the amount of time it requires for a datagram to travel from the source to the destination. Theoretically, the size of a TCP datagram is approximately 64 bytes. 

Currently, consumers in the U.S. are able to choose from a number of kinds of internet services, ranging from DSL to satellite-based services, with each of these available types having its own pros and cons. DSL stands for digital subscriber line and is a type of connection that transfers data through a telephone network via a telephone cable consisting of twisted-pair copper wires. It is the most famous connection globally. However, it has a low bandwidth with a high latency, offering download speeds in the range of 5 to 35 Mbps, with the upload speeds being in the 1 to 10 Mbps range. The main advantage of this connection type is that it is often the cheapest internet service in comparison with the others. 

Another type of connection is known as a cable connection. It transmits data through a cable television network via a coaxial copper cable. This connection is faster than DSL and highly reliable, with a higher bandwidth and lower latency. However, it sometimes slows down during peak hours due to the arrangement of its network infrastructure and is generally more expensive than a DSL connection. In terms of a wired internet connection, a fiber optic connection is the fastest and a relatively new type of internet connection. Having the highest bandwidth and lowest latency, it transfers data through a fiber optic network, offering download and upload speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. However, it is comparatively the most expensive alternative. 

In areas where wired connections are unavailable, connecting to the Internet is possible through a satellite connection. Data is transferred from one computer wirelessly through the connected satellite dish to the provider’s satellite spacecraft, and the signal then bounces back from the satellite spacecraft to the provider’s satellite dish. However, with the lowest bandwidth and highest latency, it is considered as the slowest and most unreliable internet connection, and the maximum bandwidth that it can achieve is only around 25 Mbps. 

The fiber optic internet is currently the fastest internet service available. However, cable connections are still widely used by Americans due to their affordability and performance. When choosing an internet service provider, it is necessary to ascertain your budget constraints, speed requirements and connection reliability expectations. Considering these factors during the selection process will help you opt for one that you will not regret in future. 

Can restaurants survive the era of delivery services?

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The food and beverage industry that spans the globe is one that has quite an impact in so many different ways. This is an industry that has been important from the very beginning, and it is an industry that will continue to be important going into the future. The latest evolution of the food and beverage industry, however, is arguably one of the most important to date. This is an evolution that has been around for a few years now, but is still effectively kicking into high gear.

Even (and especially) today, the food and beverage industry is in a current state of transition. Now that we live in the beginnings of the digital era, where modern marvels like the Internet and ecommerce reign supreme, it is inevitable that these modern marvels start making their impact in the world around us and the industries that make up the global society. With the Internet and ecommerce comes the influence in industries like the food and beverage industry that are geared towards transforming to realign with the way the world is moving.

For the food and beverage industry specifically, the rise of the delivery service has been the overarching answer to establishing and successfully achieving that realignment. So, the question remains: can restaurants and other establishments within the food and beverage industry survive the era of delivery services? This is a question that no matter which way you approach it, can literally have an answer that is split in half. And that is essentially exactly what has happened in this instance. The appeal of sharing an experience is the heart and soul of the food and beverage industry. So much so, in fact, that through every evolution in the industry, this has always remained the core contributing factor. Now, that core is remaining true but is beginning to be forced into a kind of collaboration where sharing the experience is more about convenience than it is about the experience itself.

That is why delivery services like Uber and Deliveroo has grown so fast; they provide a solution that allows diners to have the optimal convenience and efficiency of enjoying the meal they want, without having to have the commitment of going out of their way to get dressed up and travel to a selected destination to have that experience.

From the change in consumer habits to delivery apps, there is a digital transformation going on in the food and beverage industry that is certainly powered forward by consumers’ growing demand for convenience and efficiency above the experience of going to a venue. This is the new norm in the food and beverage industry. It is an intriguing paradox, because while restaurants and cafes and the like are indeed getting more business through these delivery services, they are also missing the opportunity to provide their customers the full experience of the venue ambience, atmosphere, great customer service and interaction with others.

To properly understand one side of the argument, it is important to understand both sides. On the one hand, there are those who firmly believe that the rise of the delivery service field in the food and beverage industry means that restaurants and the like will inevitably begin to fade away. With convenience comes the realisation that this is easier, and this is the power of the delivery service field. So the point of this argument is: adapt or die. On the other hand, however, are individuals who believe that a mix service (delivery and on-site) and collaborative efforts that are more fairly sectioned out are the answer to the survival of restaurants and other food and beverage institutions. In this argument, brick and mortar and online delivery will co-exist.

It is interesting, because the delivery service field has not necessarily taken work away from restaurants and the like, but it has definitely taken a significant cut of their margins on the argument that is has brought new business. Realistically, no side of the argument is entirely right and no side of the argument is entirely wrong. In addition, this whole argument support itself of the fact that the app delivery businesses are running on a loss in the attempt to capture market share. Whether these businesses will be able to sustain itself with the revenue it produces, and where all parties are winning, is yet to be seen.

Regardless of what side of the argument one stand, the recommendation is always to embrace change and make the best of it. If people are going online to order food, why not setup a catering software with your own online ordering website? If most people are ordering online why not operate a catering kitchen (also known as Dark Kitchen) and save on expensive retail rent? In other words, with the current changes in the food industry new opportunities will arise. So why not use this momentum to re-evaluate, adapt and take advantage of the digital era?

The food and beverage industry is one of the most enduring and inspiring industries. Throughout the decades, this is an industry that has proven time and again exactly how necessary and special it is. There have been many great evolutions in food and beverages, and each of them have come hand in hand with their own unique impacts. The current evolution sweeping throughout the global food and beverage industry is one of the most powerful ones. The digital era has brought with it innovations like the Internet and ecommerce. In the food and beverage industry, this newly emerging era has also introduced the delivery service and ability for food businesses without a physical establishment to sell online. At this point in time, it is difficult to accurately determine if restaurants and the like will adapt and survive or even grown through the opportunities generated by the current digital transformation. Time will tell.

Successful Data Collection Begins with Intended Use, Security and Reputable Hosts

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Each year technology advances making life easier for businesses and consumers. As technology continues to grow, it becomes an inseparable part of life. Changing the way people live their life, even undertaking mundane, routine tasks like going into a bank or purchasing a coffee relies on a complex web of interconnected transactions taking place on a multitude of devices and points of presence. In the old days, the cumbersome paper trail was the only way to keep records and interact with customers. Even basic tasks like queuing for your bank teller would entail signing your name on paper, waiting to be called up to the desk, explaining the purpose of your visit and then being able to receive the service. This paper trail has been uploaded, where these manual processes took manual intervention and time, it all now happens in the cloud, on your device on some other device or is automated in many ways. Still, this data needs to be collected for optimisation and improvement. Allowing a customer to get to the point of service of quicker, and hopefully, with greater satisfaction. Some areas of technology like mobile data collection helps to alleviate wait times.

The ubiquity and access that consumers have to mobile devices is a small example of how huge amounts of data can be collected. This fact of our modern age has catalyzed data collection has significantly changed the way consumers and businesses store information; how much is stored; for what purposes and how the public perceive the importance of their digital footprint. It is of utmost importance to choose wisely in trusted providers when it comes to web hosting service that store, manage and serve applications, digital environments and data.

With the ability to mass store and recall information on-demand, it becomes easier to use the data to inform key business decisions. That is, as long as it’s efficiently stored and organized at point of ingest. Nowadays, when walking into some stores, customers can type their name out into a tablet and this helps to directly send the information to store associates. When it comes to rewards cards, retailers can just type in a phone number, and customer information is pulled so they associated can input necessary rewards or update any changed information.

Instead of writing information down, now it can be inputted and stored on your smartphone. Often this data if handed off to data organisation tool like that’s synced across a multitude of device. The always on device also send out location, logs your times at a location and types of activity. Big data companies use this information to calculate store footfall, waiting times, sift through data on commonly asked questions about the place of business. This is all to ensure that the customer has access to the right service, at the right time without interruption.

In the back-office, data collection helps to save time and the environment. Many offices now run paperless. Instead of putting paper in employee mailboxes, or recording unshareable notes or insights, employees from management to sales clerk can access a stream of constantly updated information regarding their operational practices and any important incentives. Reducing the need of paper, ink and office supplies has a significant impact on an organisation’s carbon footprint and opens up the gates to unfettered collaboration and total transparency: inviting colleagues to work together and have oversight of shared folders, documents and processes. In most agile organisations, all this information is stored in the cloud and now links have replaced post it notes. We share ideas through messages using embedded links to our complete thoughts and works.

A large concern used to be space to hold paper files. Now filing cabinets have turned into digital documents filed in folders within folders. All of these files may still be stored and organized in a similar manner as filing cabinets, it just takes up hard drive and cloud space rather than a room full of gray and beige metal cabinets.

Our treatment of data has not changed. The method we utilise to store and organise it has. The fact that this can be served up on-demand and at lightning speeds has now enabled businesses, small and large to act on this information very quickly. Utilizing this data collection at, for example retail locations, users can answer questions to provide feedback to the retailer about their service experience or reason for stopping by. It allows businesses to maintain customer care information. By asking for a location information (as many apps and online services now do), retail marketers can see where customers are located and from there develop marketing campaigns targeted in certain regions or demographics.

Mobile apps have strength to reach large global audiences bringing the human experience to an interactive global communication process. By requesting survey information from app users, it again allows marketers to further understand their audience. Marketing used to be something as simple as telling consumers about a product and making it seem appealing. However, with as advanced as marketing technology has become with data collection and interpretation, it now becomes something that is more of a social science than anything else. By reviewing the scientific data collected in what audiences want, marketers can determine appropriate, targeted, messaging and content backed up by unarguable data in application interaction, surveyed content and explicit feedback.

Data collection is a mutually beneficial relationship between the user and the creators. By learning more about the application users, marketing managers, creative teams, and app creators are able to provide a more efficient and user-friendly product. This is an effective communication process between the app sender and user receiver.

A growing concern and awareness apparent in the zeitgeist of our time is how much data is collected, is that data sensitive information and how is that used. This seems to be especially pertinent to those against profiting off of sharing this information especially when consent has not been explicitly granted. In addition to this, with the rise of ever more sophisticated public security breaches, tech users (which is not effectively everyone) are becoming increasingly aware that harmful hackers may potentially gain access to their data information and use it against them for identity theft or something similarly harmful. To eliminate this worry, it’s important for companies that want to utilize data collection to maintain continual heightened security. As technology advances, the security embedded in it should be equally advanced. By providing and promising customer protection, it allows consumers to become trustworthy and reliant on the businesses who collect their data. The effort of the app creators to maintain heightened security will enhance their credibility and positive brand awareness.

Before data collection, it is crucial that companies are transparent in providing a consent agreement. Some companies are not so transparent in their terms and agreements and this could cause an upset later on when consumers did not initially want their data to be collected. It’s also important to be transparent in what data is actually collected. By being fully transparent, customers and application managers are able to have a professional understanding of what is expected and collected from both parties.

Data collection is meant to be helpful, not harmful. If done properly, data insights can benefit service users and service providers. It’s important to maintain updated communication between the creators and platform users. As data collection becomes the major way companies collect customer information, learning how to benefit all stakeholders will be key to the success of the creator and enhanced experience of the user.

The Continuous Advancement of Online Education

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Education is an industry that, over time, has been through its fair share of evolutionary eras. This makes perfect sense. After all, education is an industry that quite literally must adapt and evolve with its clients (i.e. its students) to maintain its relevance and its steady hand in the world. Over the years, there have been many great evolutions within the education industry, all of which have had their own distinct impact on the students that successfully made their way through the systems and the academic layout itself. Now that the modern world is dealing with exceedingly rapid innovations in digitalisation and technological advancement, the next natural step in the ongoing evolution of the education industry is the move towards innovations that digitise elements of the academic experience. This concept has been hovering on the horizon for a while now, but it has only been in the last few years that it has begun to genuinely shift into being. Now, we are seeing the proof in the pudding all the time in the education industry.

Consider the introduction and ongoing advancement of online education, for instance. Traditional education has always been enormously successful, of course, but there is something to be said about the power of breaking down the structured barriers of traditional education and giving students access to a form of learning that is truly and entirely inclusive. Traditional education is a sole approach, in a set environment, with structured hours for classes and communications. For some students, this is the ideal approach to learning, and they thrive. But the fact is that trying to education millions of students a year with a single approach to learning, will never get the best out of each and every student. That is where online education comes in and changes the game. Online education is all about breaking down the barriers that are set in place in traditional education (intentionally or not) and creating an environment where students can have a more flexible experience.

Of course, it is important to note that a more flexible learning environment does not mean that it is any less legitimate at all. In fact, the online courses and degrees available via online education are there largely (if not entirely) because they are the very same courses that are offered through traditional education opportunities. Literally the only difference is the nature of the environment and its surrounding circumstances that students navigate when engaging in online education versus traditional education. Learning standard skills like writing and perfecting an impressive resume and learning some of the more stimulating lessons like sciences and understanding the history of literature, are all lessons that are available in online education as well as traditional education. The most valuable ideal of online education is simply that it essentially puts learners in a position to take control of their experience more.

Digitising materials, courses, and entire programs is a life-changing feat that many people honestly once doubted would ever come to fruition. Now, however, thanks to online education, the boundaries of traditional education have been effectively broken down, and students around the globe now have the option of a more heavily structured approach to learning (traditional education) or a more flexible approach to learning (online education). Having the power to decide which pathway a student wants to take has had a dramatic impact on just about every aspect of their education experience. That is why online education is so overwhelmingly valuable. That is the power of online education. And that is exactly why online education is only going to continue going from strength to strength over the coming years. This is just the beginning for online education. As the most exciting and revolutionary transformation in education and its history, online education is going to continue breaking down barriers and changing the lives of students going into the future.

As one of the world’s oldest industries, education has been through many great evolutions in its time. Moving forward, it will continue to do so. Now, as we head further and further into the impending digital era, education is undergoing perhaps its most exciting evolution yet: the introduction of the digitisation of elements of academics. Of course, this includes online education. The movement towards online learning is one that has been on the horizon for quite some time now, but it is only in the last few years that it has truly kicked into high gear. The ongoing innovations in online education are ones that are changing the way that students learn and educators teach, for the better. This is just the beginning for online education too; there are many advancements coming up in the next few years that are set to further revolutionise the online education approach. This is an exciting time for education.

Dutch Researchers Rank Higher than the Top 10 Most Research-intensive Nations in Key Research

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When it comes to ranking a nation and its researchers high in the list of global researches, there is a set of prerequisites that they ought to fulfill. Apart from being proven productive and efficient in the works submitted, the chief objective of the researchers must be to abide by all the constituents that would take his country forward along with placing it on the world map of integrated advancement and add to the overall value of its education system and uplift the present awareness and understanding of the same. 

In the recent past, reports that were conducted with an aim to announce the outcome of a comparative study based on Dutch researcher’s international performance and comprised of straps from scientific, technical and medical information products and services asserted that in a comparison that included the top 10 nations placed in order of their annual spending in research and development, the Netherlands ranked number one. Furthermore, the Dutch researchers were declared to be placed at a position higher than all its contemporaries in terms of their publication impact per article and effectiveness in international collaboration. However, the list of achievements associated with the Netherlands in the field of educational research doesn’t make halt here; it moves on to place the country at number one in the world as far as citations generated per unit of Resource and Development spending is concerned and at number two in case of publications generated per unit of R&D spending. All these digits and configurations were duly verified and submitted at the Impact of Science Conference held in Amsterdam.

After browsing through all these technical facts, if we start exploring the components that in reality led to this glaring success of the Netherlands amidst the top 10 most research-intensive nations in key research, we will come across the two major ones that form an indispensable portion of any research-driven study. Firstly, in the past few years, the Netherlands ‘ international collaboration and initiation of a geographically mobile research base were invariably high with almost little or no exceptions. A sum total of about 48.7% of the number of articles submitted by a Netherlands-based researcher were delineated in collaboration with a researcher who hailed from a distinct country altogether. In any research technique, international collaboration is always studied under a positive light and justifiably so. Coming back to our evaluation, the constituting figure of 48.7% is inevitably a higher proportion when placed alongside any of the top 10 R&D spending nations of the world. Like we have already mentioned, international collaboration is always considered to be a positive driving force when it comes to laying a generous impact on the research impact and prestige. 

The second factor which analysts qualify as a highly influential ingredient in positing the Netherlands at the top of the list is the mobile research base. This mechanism of research is related to the term that we call “brain circulation”, or in simpler terms, cross-border mobility of researchers. As per the guidelines of this method, the country allows and aids its researchers to explore distinct notches of educations and the fields that they are related to both in the national and international realms. When a scholar is pursuing his research, it is not customary for him to limit his mode of investigation within the resources available in his country; and therefore, he is free to examine the funds supplied by its collaborators. The Netherlands has always been known and been in history for allowing people to move in and out of the country, even when it comes to pursuing the assets in the world of science. For instance, there has been a record of at least 74% of affiliated authors with the Dutch universities who have successfully published their research articles in an institution situated in another country at some point in their careers.

After analyzing the above-mentioned influences we can safely conclude that the rank that has been granted to the Netherlands in the paraphernalia of global educational research has been rightly earned by the Dutch scholars. A notion that we have all believed and been taught since our childhood is that there is no end to learning; a man, no matter how learned or well informed he is, cannot guarantee a full-fledged demonstration of the same. Therefore, when it comes to dealing with a serious matter like that of research, steering away from the implications of international collaboration and mobile research base cannot be waived. Injecting profound shreds of information like no other and enriching the study with lesser-known facts and SEO approved content is the key to illustrating a worthy research paper that is capable of representing the educational trends and recourses of its country.

Blurred Lines: When HIPAA, HITECH, FinReg and Medical Financing Collide

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In the Internet Age, the medical lending industry has changed greatly due to the proliferation of financial technology, which increased safety and security of both transactions and patient information. Companies are disrupting a multibillion-dollar industry by allowing patients to obtain funding for their care providers and treatments of choice, including cosmetic surgery financing, which is one of the top requests from prospective patients. They also work to educate patients on their rights and responsibilities under the law, and ensure patients have access to all the legal and financial information they need to make suitable decisions about their healthcare. 

However, the ever-changing nature of technology and the often-precarious regulatory landscape means patient-facing providers often occupy a treacherous middle ground between patient privacy, effective healthcare and oversight regulation. The lines are often confusing or contradictory, forcing these companies to think six moves ahead of current regulation to help ensure they stay current on the regulations impacting their niche market without sacrificing patient care. 

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, was created to meet the challenges of maintaining patients’ rights to privacy and confidentiality concerning their healthcare in the burgeoning Internet age. One of the key exemptions in HIPAA affected the financial sector in Section 1179, which reads:

To the extent that an entity is engaged in the activities of a financial institution, or is engaged in authorizing, processing, clearing, settling, billing, transferring or collecting payments for a financial institution, then the HIPAA statute and the accompanying rules do not apply.

In 2012, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, was passed, tightening restrictions and regulations for companies dealing partially or wholly in patient healthcare, as well as enhancing the obligation of these companies to ensure the protection of the individual consumer information generated by same to the maximum possible extent. Under HITECH, the exemptions in HIPAA for financial-side companies providing payment or funding to healthcare-side entities for individual patient treatments were tightened almost into nonexistence. This meant finance companies which had previously relied on the Section 1179 exemption no longer had that cushion between HIPAA requirements and their daily operations, and incurred the same obligations toward private medical information as healthcare providers, medical staff and support personnel.  

However, government officials and advisory panels have often noted technology is far outstripping the ability to regulate it. Legislation intended to safeguard consumers from the unknown consequences of updated technology is frequently obsolete before it’s ever deployed due to the rapid pace of innovation. Because regulation tends to lag years behind emerging tech, regulators find themselves in a binary position of either being forced to embrace reckless action which risks stifling competition and innovation without having adequate access to the information required to make informed policy decisions, or a paralytic scheme in which nothing is regulated to the detriment of the consumer. These issues are only magnified by conflicting or competing legislation which spans multiple disciplines, such as the healthcare credit industry.

The educational sector has produced a blizzard of white papers, policy analyses and speculatory pieces concerning this paradox between the rapid pace of innovation and the relative crawl at which regulation can consider new technology and privacy paradigms. Scholars in the fields of law, medicine, public policy and technology have all considered how their fields are intertwined and what may come next, and the inescapable consensus is that regardless of what it will be or what it will look like, policymakers will almost certainly not be ready.

Healthcare lending companies and brokerages live in the battleground between these disciplines. They also exist in a state of constant government and civilian watchdog scrutiny as they navigate a spaghetti bowl of regulations and statutes which contradict, negate and enhance each other, often in unexpected ways. As a result, they have adopted ongoing patient confidentiality and protection protocols which meet or exceed the existing regulatory requirements and often go far beyond them, in a bid to ensure they are and remain compliant with evolving regulation for years to come. For patients, this means they can shop with confidence, knowing whatever regulatory hurdles may come in the future, their information will be protected.

Kubernetes: An IT Revolution

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Kubernetes is becoming the golden standard for companies looking for container orchestration. Developers can rely on Kubernetes to deliver and manage container software across clouds and environments. In a sense, Kubernetes is contributing to an IT revolution. This article covers an overview of Kubernetes, its benefits and why it constitutes a disruptive technology. 

What Is Kubernetes?

It is an open-source platform used to automate containerized applications. Kubernetes manages, deploys and operates application containers. A container is a software package containing all the components an application needs to run, minus an OS. Containers make applications and microservices portable across computing environments. 

When you only have a few containers to manage, manual orchestration is often sufficient.  However, when it comes to managing large numbers of containers, a container orchestration tool comes handy. Some of the key features of Kubernetes include:

  • Automates manual processes—for example, the platform chooses the best location for containers, which server will host them and how they will be launched.
  • Self-monitoring—Kubernetes constantly monitors the health status of nodes and containers. 
  • Horizontal scaling—you can scale resources out, meaning you can add more containers to your resources. 
  • Multiple environments support—supports cloud, on-premises and hybrid  environments.
  • Load balancing—Kubernetes prevents network overload by distributing traffic across resources.
  • Storage orchestration—Kubernetes can add storage, determining, for example, how much memory is allocated to each container. 

Benefits of Kubernetes

Before we cover the benefits of Kubernetes, we should start explaining some benefits of containers.

Containerization reduces resource costs. Containers are self-contained packages that share host operating systems and networks. They allow you to save in hardware and data storage costs as containers are lightweight by design. Containers are portable, which means that you can run your application across environments without consistency issues. Developers can copy containers and send them to the relevant departments for testing, integration or deployment. This results in a faster time to market.

There are several open-source and commercial options for container management. Kubernetes is leading the market for the past several years. Some of the benefits Kubernetes has to offer include:

  • Solid architecture—Kubernetes has a mature underlying architecture built by Google engineers. 
  • Large supporting community—the project has a large and active community, which means that new features are released frequently. Several leading tech companies also support the platform such as the major cloud providers. 
  • Flexibility—the platform supports a wide range of programming languages, databases, and workloads. It enables both stateless and stateful data, making it ideal for large databases.
  • Open-source—this means that you can move workloads anywhere you want, including on-premises, hybrid or public clouds. This avoids vendor lock-in, as you can easily switch providers. 
  • High Availability—Kubernetes achieves high availability by constantly monitoring the health of nodes and containers. One of the key features of Kubernetes is that it automatically replaces failed containers or pods. 

The Evolution of Kubernetes

Kubernetes was originally created by Google engineers in 2014. Since its release as an open-source project, the solution experienced a growing trend with no signs of waning, according to the latest Cloud-Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) survey.

While Kubernetes adoption has seemly reached maturity it is far from universal. Since 2017,   adoption of managed Kubernetes services have become popular among organizations. The breakthrough came in 2018 when Microsoft and Amazon launched their own managed kubernetes services, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS). With the top three cloud providers offering Kubernetes support, more companies are choosing container orchestration from the start of their cloud journey.

Kubernetes is a disrupting technology that made it possible for containers to revolutionize the software development industry. Nowadays, developers need to build applications that can be deployed in different environments and operating systems. Modern projects require scalability and flexibility. Kubernetes’ modular approach helps developers deliver projects faster while meeting availability and security demands.

How Kubernetes Is Contributing to the Open Source Revolution?

Containers are one of the biggest disruptors in open source technology. In what is called the “container revolution”, virtual machines might become obsolete. The open-source nature of Kubernetes is perhaps one of the reasons container technology is here to stay. That, and a community of over 2000 contributors that work together to innovate and improve the platform.

Containers’ portability makes Kubernetes the right fit to help to increase the efficiency of a DevOps pipeline. DevOps is a software development approach that uses the agile methodology to integrate development and operations. This approach has become the standard for software development in recent years. The resulting synergy of DevOps and Kubernetes is one of the causes of the exponential growth in cloud-native applications. 

What’s Next?

Recent research predicts the container market will reach the $2.7 billion mark by 2020. Vendors are competing to provide organizations with solutions for application container use beyond management and orchestration. One of the factors behind the container adoption is the growing number of hybrid cloud deployments. As more companies are migrating to the cloud, container technology is helping to address IT infrastructures consisting of multiple environments. Undoubtedly, we are just seeing the start of a shift towards more usage of Kubernetes in software development and deployment.