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.

Technological Impact Revolutionises Modern Home Design

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In the last decade or so, the world as we know it has gone through quite a revolution. This revolution has been driven forward, onward, and upward by digitalisation and technological advancement. Today, we live in a world that has been profoundly impacted by all this modernisation, to the point that practically every aspect of life as we know it is different to the way it once was. Even life at home has been given quite the digitally inclined revitalisation. In the past, homes have always been places of comfort and relaxation, and while this has not changed, the ways in which our most private spaces are set out has changed drastically. Like it or not, technological influence is well and truly here to stay, and the modern home is perhaps the most significantly impacted aspect of modern life to face this realisation. Home design has always been important, but now as technological influence comes into the mix, it has become more pronounced and more advanced than ever. Home design is about creating spaces that feel the best and that radiate comfort and efficiency.

Throughout the history of home design, that has been the underlying constant that no matter how much the home design trends atop it have changed and shifted, has remained steadfast. In a modern world where technology rules and the entire world is becoming more and more dependent on technological influence all the time, it has never been as important as it is right now for home design to incorporate technology into the mix in exciting and fresh ways. Today, home design incorporates home technologies like property-wide smart security systems and virtual assistants into the framework of the homes themselves, and that says a lot about where are currently and where we are heading in terms of home design. We crave the convenience and efficiency that home technology offers, and so it has essentially moved into place as our leading home design trend. More to the point, it is a home design “trend” that appears to be outliving all others, proving that it is more of a staple in home design today.

Technological impact has profoundly revolutionised modern home design by essentially taking all the core home design traits that people love, and somehow perfectly encapsulating them into the perfect approach to creating the perfect living spaces at home. Today, home technology is a coveted staple in home design, to the point that buyers and even renters are prioritising their options when looking at potential properties, by looking into the home tech capabilities or scope for potential in the home. If that does not say a whole lot about where we are in terms of expectations for modern home design, then what does? The sheer convenience and overall efficiency of home technology makes it the perfect modern candidate for leading home design staple not only now, but as we move forward into the next era in home design. While some home design trends come and go, it is safe to say that home technology is here to stay.

There is something thrillingly convenient about being able to ask your virtual home assistant to learn more about crawl space encapsulation in your home so you can consider it for further home improvement at your property. Home design is supposed to be perfectly simple, yet charmingly intricate. Home technology somehow manages to walk the line between the two ideals beautifully. Of all the home design trends that have shifted into the position of home design staples out there, home technology is arguably the most effective and the most prominent of all. Welcome to the next era in home design, where you can do it all with the help of the home technologies that are designed and personalised to assist you in making the most out of life at home, in every aspect. More than anything else, this is exciting and thrilling. Home design has never been smarter or more exciting.

The modern world that we are currently living in and navigating our way through has come to fruition largely on the tail of ongoing digitalisation and technological advancement. This is the reality, the truth of the matter. As advancements in technology continued to become more and more pronounced, every aspect of life as we know it has become more and more steadily focused on technological horizons. By incorporating home technology into the home design of modern properties, people are realising the practically limitless scope of potential that home design offers when it is strengthened through home technologies. Today, modern home design is more focused on home technology than ever. Going forward into tomorrow and beyond, there are no signs of this case slowing down any time soon. Home technology is the core of modern home design, and the best is yet to come.

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.

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.

Prosthetic technology advancements further revolutionise healthcare

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For those of us who are able-bodied, it goes without saying that sometimes we unfortunately fall into a pattern of taking our physical health for granted. So many of us are so used to having complete control and use of our bodies, that we simply do not leave room to consider what life would be like if we suddenly lost the use of a part of the body. Some people use organic treatments like marijuana (to look at the most beneficial strain of cannabis for your health needs, view these) to deal with physical pain, while others use pills and more chemically-based treatment methods. But when there is a loss of movement in a limb – or the loss of a limb altogether, for that matter – more complex treatments and solutions are necessary to bring back a sense of control and a heightened quality of life. In the beginning, these types of solutions were not only revolutionary, but expensive by nature, which made it understandably difficult for them to be realistically and widely accessible to everyone who could benefit by utilising them. Prosthetic technology is one of those solutions.

Thankfully, these days, as the technology continues to become more and more easily utilised and developed, it is slowly but surely becoming more cost-effective for individuals who can genuinely and profoundly benefit from prosthetics. Advancements in prosthetic technology are becoming more and more advanced by the day, and they are having life-changing impact on those who are benefitting from the technology thus far. It is no secret that individuals who live with the loss or lack of a limb experience life differently than those who are fully able-bodied. Whether the individual was born without a limb, or has become an amputee at some point throughout their life, there is a sense of not only the physical loss, but the mental strain of having less control and physical capability than they might have otherwise had. The difference that prosthetic technology can make in the lives of these individuals is nothing short of life-changing and remarkable (to say the least).

Consider the latest bionic hand in development, for example. Up until this point, bionic hands and other prosthetic limbs have been controlled by motors that use external signs from surrounding muscles to signal movements. In this new version of a bionic hand, however, the individual’s intentions are interpreted by a human-machine interface. This inbuilt interface then sends signals to the prosthetic, which allows it to interpret the signals and provide a real-time set of instructions to move the bionic hand in a way that is both aligned with what the individual wants, but also at controlled speeds. This creates a more natural feeling in the prosthetic. In the (hopefully) near future, the hope is to have the bionic hand receive the individual’s signals through wireless technology, in a bid to instil greater control over the individual movement and speed of the digits of the prosthetic. This bionic hand is just a taste of what is possible moving forward for the healthcare industry and prosthetic technology, and it is a hopeful taste at that.

Innovations in prosthetic technology are getting better and better all the time. There is a certain type of modern magic that makes prosthetics so incredible, and that magic is the very reason that they continue to be so coveted by those who wish to recover a sense of control and capability. The introduction of the latest bionic hand has signalled a new era in prosthetic technology. It is an era that is going to elevate and enhance prosthetics and healthcare going forward, changing the lives and quality of life of millions of individuals all over the world. If ever there has been a health technology that has been life-changing, revolutionary, and unique all at once, it is prosthetic technology. And while exciting innovations in the tech are happening all the time, they are just a taste of what is yet to come for prosthetics. The best is yet to come, and the innovations in prosthetic technology are only going to continue to get better and better, in every sense, from here on out.

Physical health is one of the most important core aspects of overall health. It is the harsh reality that those who are able-bodied often take their physical health for granted, intentionally or not. For those who have suffered with the loss of a limb, either for the entirety of their live, or at some point throughout their life, prosthetic technology can and often does make the world of difference. There is a lot to be said about a technological marvel that quite literally works to establish the return of not only control, but physical capability that an individual somehow misses out on. The latest advancements in prosthetic technology – like the introduction of the latest and greatest bionic hand, for example – highlight a promising future for prosthetics. It is a future that has arrived, and it is one that continues to impress and improve over time. prosthetic technology is only getting bolder, better, faster, smarter, and stronger – and the best is certainly yet to come. This is an exciting time for prosthetic technology, and those who can and do benefit from its accomplishments.

Heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness

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We live in the digital era, and in this digital era modern innovations rule. One of the most prominent modern innovations there is, is social media. Designed to be a network of global virtual platforms that allow for instantaneous and easy communication around the world, social media has more than lived up to the hype that has propelled over the years. But on the flip side of that same coin, is the dark undercurrent of social media. That decidedly negative undertone is hinged on the reality that social media has heavily impacted mental health – and not in the most positive of ways. Social media is an environment that emphasises the appeal of honest and open communication and connection, but it is also an environment that can be incredibly toxic for people to invest their energy and time into. And it all comes down to the comparative nature of social media, and how that impacts those that are struggling with themselves. This is an important issue, and finally it is getting the attention that it has always deserved. As the world hinders on the verge of a mental health crisis that borders on epidemic standard, this conversation is more important than ever.

The complication with social media is while it is intended to boost communication, it also sometimes inevitably isolates individuals from the real world and their real connections. The more energy and time that one invests in the social media landscape, the more disconnected they become with the real world around them. This is where problems often arise. Social media can be a dangerous, even fatal environment, and the reality is that there simply is not enough awareness surrounding this truth. Because of the comparative nature that has evolved over the history of social media, users can feel an inclination to mould themselves into what the social media platforms appear to find the most widely appealing aesthetic, body image, or way of communicating. This often leads to inauthentic representations of the self, which can obviously lead to some very serious health implications. The pressures of social media warrant a type of mental health strain that, quite frankly, is unparalleled to anything else.

There is a massive pressure in the landscape of social media platforms. Individuals can feel pressured to buy likes on Instagram, or try to change how they look to fit into the standard perception of what social media deems to be the most appealing aesthetic or approach. Additionally, they can spend hours and hours investing energy, time, and even money into ensuring that the representation of themselves they give out via social media, is one that puts their best [virtual] foot forward, so to speak. And while this can work for some time, it nearly always comes to a point where it becomes more of a problem than a distraction from the true self. The immense pressure to not only concede to those perceived ideals online, but to maintain those ideals over time, can be quite taxing. This is where cracks tend to appear, and if left unchecked, these cracks can bloom into dark bruises that become more and more difficult to contain. And just like bruises, it becomes obvious too often after the damage is done, that there is even a problem.

The links between mental health and social media are becoming more and more pronounced the more that studies and research focus on this topic, and the more that awareness becomes more prominent. When individuals spend so much time on their social media, they inevitably drain themselves emotionally and mentally. It can be exhausting to constantly see what is perceived as many people living the perfect life – especially if their own life does not feel even close to what their perceived ideal idols and friends live online. While it is easy enough to tell someone to remember that social media is often (if not always) a highlight reel of someone’s life, a snapshot of what really goes on, it is quite another to tell that to someone who is struggling with their mental health because of that reason. Mental health is a serious issue, and it is one that, quite frankly, is not given nearly as much attention as it should be. There is a very real sense of isolation that goes hand in hand with heavy use of social media, and it is important to pay attention to not only your own use of social media, but those close to you, and to do your best to let them know you are there if they need to reach out.

The digital era is absolutely rife with exciting innovations and revolutions that have changed life as we know it, in many different ways. One of the most globally renowned innovations of all has been, without a doubt, social media. A revolution initially created to serve as an all-new frontier of instantaneous global communication, social media has since ballooned to become so much more over time. While in many ways, social media is an immensely positive space, it can also be a place of dark undertones that can be difficult for some individuals to deal with. The comparative nature of social media today has resulted in the realisation that, for some, social media activity can have a devastating impact on their mental health. This is an issue that, up until recently, was given nowhere near the amount of attention that it warranted, but now that the world is bordering on a mental health epidemic, action is finally, at long last, being taken. Social media can have devastating effects on users, and it is important to pay close attention to the signs that people are struggling. Lives literally depend on it.