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Will Blockchain Integrate Well with AI and Machine Learning?

We’ve seen a lot of technologies that work better when integrating with other technologies. This is the typical scenario in many cases to make a particular technology more powerful than it was before.

Blockchain is already the most talked about technology in the world in bringing more transparency and security to networks. The use of blockchain is virtually limitless in all industries. However, integrating it with AI could make it all the more important in bringing a foundation for protecting data.

Considering AI and machine learning works with data every day, how will blockchain protect it from being compromised?

Protecting Data in Various Industries

Numerous blockchain analysts are looking at the possibilities of what it could do in securing AI data used in fields from healthcare to financial industries.

Since blockchain provides an encrypted private network, the implications are significant in how AI processes data and sends data to others. Many companies are going to start placing more reliance on AI and machine learning to gather or send data. Unfortunately, it’s not always smart enough to protect the data from being compromised by hackers or inside data thieves.

Blockchain promises full protection for heavily regulated industries like healthcare mentioned above. While data protection is already a major initiative of the healthcare and financial industries (as just starters), they’ll soon use blockchain as a foundation for their increasing reliance on machine learning.

Even more important is being able to track when AI transfers data from one place to the other.

Clearer Audit Trails

Recently, an article on Medium took on the subject of AI and blockchain working together. The piece (written by data strategist Francesco Corea) offered a lengthy explanation of how blockchain can provide an audit trail for all data compiled by AI.

It’s impossible for humans to compile or send reams of data manually to different sources. Companies are starting to rely more and more on AI to send data without really having a data trail to ensure compliance or if the data is accurate.

Thanks to blockchain already providing transparency in all transactions, it’ll provide a similar data trail in AI and machine learning applications.

In other words, when data is sent between two parties who don’t know one another, they’ll have a new AI data record of trust to eliminate second thoughts about what’s sent.

Data Marketplaces

Being able to gather data through AI and sell it to companies for profit isn’t always feasible because of lack of trust on where the data came from. Having blockchain involved in data compiled by machine learning provides a stronger level of trust, leading to more data marketplaces.

We’ll likely see smaller companies previously staying away from buying data find more trust in data acquisition because they’ll know it’s safe to use.

Ultimately, this brings a stronger competitive advantage in the corporate world. A company called SingularityNET is already working on this by allowing easy sharing of AI services. They’ve created a blockchain-powered AI helping those looking for open-source AI platforms. It’s going to bring more trust in using these sources to save money and gain data advantageous to company growth.

More Powerful Big Data Analytics

Other companies like Neureal are using blockchain to create more powerful data networks. In fact, this company says their data network is more powerful than anything in the world, even more than Google.

This might sound like hyperbole, yet it’s become possible thanks to blockchain building larger big data analytics. It’s another example in how blockchain creates more trust and power in transactions of data to help companies scale.

Contact us at Concepts Rise to learn about how we can apply blockchain through our expertise in everything from predictive analytics to AI.

Majid Abai – July 2018 – Los Angeles

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

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Blockchain and the Rise of Cryptocurrencies

For the past decade, an insurgency has been quietly sweeping across the digital ecosphere. Meet blockchain, the digital insurgent that’s been gaining international traction. Since its inception in 2009, this technology has been steeped in mystery.

Blockchain is a digital ledger that serves as a permanent record of transactions spread out among a vast network of computers. It’s a decentralized system that experts say will transform the way we view how data is shared. As a shared ledger, blockchain involves the democratization of data, ensuring transparency and the ability to own assets digitally across boundaries. To be sure, this groundbreaking technology has set the stage for a variety of new business models, all in the world of digital cryptography. In fact, cryptocurrencies were the first industry to make use of blockchain.

Creation of Bitcoin

The earliest cryptocurrency was bitcoin, launched in 2009 as an unregulated currency wholly dependent on blockchain. Bitcoin was conceived in 2008 by a nebulous figure known only by their pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Appearing in a paper entitled Bitcoin — A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” the proposed currency was envisioned as a decentralized approach to traditional currency. It would eliminate from the equation third parties like governments and financial institutions.

Nakamoto’s paper depicts  bitcoin as fundamentally inseparable from Blockchain. It goes on to describe an individual bitcoin as a single unit of electronic currency that acts as “a chain of digital signatures.” Each of these signatures verifies a given transaction. The process of signature verification followed by its addition to the Blockchain ledger is called “bitcoin mining.”

Bitcoin Mining

In the Blockchain world, bitcoin mining is as real as mining for gold is in the “real” world. Each scenario imagines a finite supply. According to bitcoin protocol, 21 million bitcoins are supposed to exist at some point, and once they’ve all been mined, bitcoin’s supply will have been depleted unless its protocol is amended. However, whether they ever reach the limit depends on various factors such as transaction fees, mining costs, and competition.

A Ton of Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin merely skims the market’s surface. Right now there are more than 1600 cryptocurrencies. And given the relative ease for people who know simple coding to form a digital currency, the list will only get longer.

Governments Don’t Back Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by any government or institution. Specifically bitcoin, by far the most widely-used cryptocurrency, has earned the animus of many governments because it doesn’t conform to any established fiscal policies. Governments for one thing want to maintain the power to track currency movements so they can determine who owes taxes on them and how much. They also want to be able to make it easier to track criminal activity linked to cryptocurrencies.

Interestingly, governments have been entertaining the idea of issuing their own digital currencies. One reason is to crack down on digital tax evasion and other financial crimes. The idea is, ironically, attractive to certain autocracies unhappy with how they’re perceived by the global financial system.

Could Cryptocurrencies Compete With Banks?

There are those in government who fear that widespread use of cryptocurrencies, especially if they go mainstream, could put the entire banking system in jeopardy. Bank of America recently admitted that adopting a slew of fintech innovations like cryptocurrencies could prove costly as it moves toward revamping its current services in order to remain competitive with upstart companies. It also feels these emerging technologies could hinder its ability to help authorities in anti-money laundering operations. One thing it did in response was enact a rule prohibiting customers from using credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies.

A Glimpse into the Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies 

While some governments have expressed a desire to ban or limit the use of cryptocurrencies, most are reluctant to do so. After all, an increasing number of companies like Microsoft, Overstock.com, Save the Children, OkCupid, Wikipedia, Tesla, Lionsgate Films, Dell, Dish Network, and Expedia accept Bitcoin. Policymakers find themselves grappling with how to handle such a disruptive yet increasingly popular technology. Given their brief history that has left us with more questions than answers, cryptocurrencies may have to be regulated by government.

Blockchain, meanwhile, has entered additional markets like the distributed storage market, which offers a potential challenge to the traditional cloud storage services business model. Other markets include healthcare and finance. The World Economic Forum released a report recently suggesting that by 2027 ten percent of this world’s gross domestic product (GDP) could be found on blockchain, indicating indeed that this technology is here to stay.

Concepts Rise is a consulting firm that helps businesses advance their bottom line through cutting edge technologies. For more information on blockchain and the rise of cryptocurrencies, please contact us.

 

Majid Abai – June 2018 – Los Angeles

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Tags: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Concepts Rise.

How Crowdfund Marketing can Raise Money and Brand Awareness

Businesses willing to get creative are recognizing crowdfunding as an efficient way to raise money, market intelligently, and increase brand awareness, all in one seamless process.

Crowdfunding is a non-traditional means for rounding-up non-conventional investors and contributors. The primary definition of crowdfunding is that it is “a marketing strategy for raising money from a huge number of people who can contribute a small amount to your business or project.”

It works on the premise that you offer those contributors something in return, whether it be perks, products, or equity. The goal is to convince a large number of people to contribute in small amounts, and land a few mid-range to higher level contributors along the way, so you can generate the required capital within a short period of time.

Background

Though crowdfunding has existed in principle (even if not in name) throughout modern history, the current rendition of what we know as crowdfunding took off around 2009. In fact, “crowdfunding revenue tripled from $530 million in 2009, to $1.5 billion in 2011,” and has continued its rapid growth in the years since.

The appeal of crowdfunding has come largely from the fact that it “allows new projects and ventures to raise money, build brand awareness, and gather priceless feedback—all while still working on product and supply chain development. It also provides an open, honest avenue between businesses and backers, a rare commodity afforded to consumers today.”

The Basics

A successful crowdfunding launch will likely include some or all of the following steps, depending on what you already have in place:

  • Researching your audience
  • Picking the right platform
  • Creating a website/landing page
  • Creating a blog
  • Creating useful networks on social media
  • Issuing a press release
  • Email marketing

There are multiple directions a crowdfunding campaign can go within each of these main areas, but the general process will likely echo this structure.

The Primary Players

KickstarterIndiegogo, and Fundable are a few of the most popular platforms for businesses looking to fund a project or idea. It will be helpful to visit each of the sites and find success stories in an area similar to your own. With a few of these in mind, you’ll be able to make a more informed choice on where and how to best spend your time.

Crowdsourcing

The great thing about engaging the crowd, is that even if you don’t have an idea or product to crowdfund, there’s a crowd solution for that: crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is simply “the process of inviting ideas from groups – usually online — to solve a common problem.”

Both crowdfunding and crowdsourcing do two crucial favors to businesses in need of marketing help:

  • Keeps them from developing in isolation, by engaging them with people who can help their company.
  • Gets them engaged with the “right” people.

Most of the people businesses would be looking to target with traditional marketing means, advertising, and focus groups, are actually out there just waiting to promote their company for them, out of their own goodwill and enthusiasm, and not only that, but to like-minded friends and family.

The Psychology of the Crowd

There is something bold, brazen, and empowering about asking people for money – particularly when it’s as a way to get them and others to spend more money, spread word of mouth, and help your company after they’ve given you the money. This is in fact the whole basis of growth marketing, the idea that a number of loyal customers/fans are more than happy to do the viral work for you.

Even if you already have a lot of money, and people know it, it doesn’t seem to hurt the willingness of consumers to help back a crowdfunding effort, when it aligns with their other motivations.

In fact, “marketing as the primary reason for crowdfunding is gaining considerable traction with celebrities, fortune 500 companies, and venture-backed startups alike: those who can’t even pretend to be in financial binds worthy of public contribution.”

Additional Benefits of Crowdfunding

As illustrated on the TryCelery Blog, crowdfunding can also be used to:

  1. Receive product validation (or the opposite)
  2. Create brand advocates
  3. Have greater exposure (i.e. make the news, go viral)
  4. Become a beloved brand, which can be achieved by weaving storytelling into your campaign.

Any of these advantages on their own would be powerful, but combined with the other factors already mentioned it’s easy to see just how powerful crowdfunding can be.

Moving Forward

One huge advantage of this type of marketing, is that though there is a lot of noise from individual entrepreneurs and inventors, already successful businesses can often cut through this noise by leveraging their existing brand awareness.

As crowdfunding continues to rise as a both a monetary and a marketing platform, it will be a great opportunity for those on its leading edge, who are willing to embrace cultural shifts and make the most of the opportunities presented to them.

At Concepts Rise, we focus on technologies that are developed to increase revenues, lower costs, and impact the bottom line. We are passionate about information and believe that data analysis could provide insights into operations, sales, and marketing activities of a business. To learn more about our company and receive a consultation, please contact us today.

Majid Abai – June 2018 – Los Angeles

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Tags: Crowdfunding, Crowdfund Marketing, Concepts Rise.

How Blockchain Technology Will Change the Accounting Profession

Blockchain is in the news a lot lately – not always in a good sense, given concerns about a crypto currency “bubble.” However, blockchain – the technology that makes crypto currency work – has the potential to transform how we do business and may be a game changer for accountants. In fact, some people believe blockchain will make accountants unnecessary. Specifically, blockchain forms a digital ledger of economic transactions that is public (although access can be limited) and hard to corrupt. As blockchain records transactions in a way which cannot be changed retroactively, it stores information permanently.

In fact, blockchain is still not really being embraced, but when it is, it will change accounting forever. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Blockchain technology renders audits all but unnecessary. Blockchain can be used to record transactions into an automatic ledger that can be viewed by all authorized personnel. The good news is that this will prevent people from cooking the books and end conflicts of interest regarding auditors’ fees. The bad news is that this may, on the face of it, eliminate the need for auditors. It is, however, a little more complicated than that. Auditors may still have to sign off on things, checking that the system is working. The “auditor” of the future may no longer be an accountant, but a blockchain expert trained to spot any ways the technology can be worked around or abused – which happens with any new “security” technology. Audits will be faster, possibly more common, and require an understanding of the company over time – companies may increasingly use auditors not to check the past but to get an eye on the future.
  2. The technology will reduce errors, saving time accountants spend on looking for, say, that one misplaced decimal point. Although this may result in some loss of jobs, those that remain will be freed from the tedium of verifying payments and able to do higher-value activities. Clients may rapidly perceive that using a blockchain savvy accountant will result in them getting more for their money. However, accountants will need to develop an understanding of the technology, how it works, and its limitation.
  3. The end of year and end of month rush will disappear as accounting becomes real time. Accountants and bookkeepers will be able to monitor the flow of money in and out of the business easily and in a way which is partially automated – an AI will flag suspect transactions for the attention of a human. This ties into increasing use of cloud solutions to support a situation where accountants will not just be running the numbers, but keeping their finger on the health of the company as a whole.
  4. Blockchain will lead to a move from double-entry accounting to triple-entry accounting. Double-entry accounting was invented in the late 1400s and has been used ever since. It is the familiar system which shows asset, expense and loss accounts and liability, equity, revenue and gain accounts in columns, allowing the accountant to easily “balance” the books. Triple-entry accounting is coming to mean the extra step of ensuring all transactions are written to a blockchain. For example, a blockchain might be established for each specific contract to store the contract, purchase order, bills, payments, etc, keeping everything associated with it together. (This is not the same thing as triple-entry accounting for financial forecasting). The triple entry in this case is cryptographically sealed, protecting all parties to the contract. Practically, the ledger will need to be validated and real-time audited – a new role for an accounting firm.
  5. Smart contracts may affect how accounting works. A smart contract can replace many common financial transactions. Essentially, the contract itself holds the funds and releases them when the conditions of the contract are met. This works the same way as traditional escrow – except for being fully automated. A contract might be triggered by a contractor sending final materials – or the results of a sporting event. This will result in fewer legal disputes (and thus less work for contract lawyers), but accountants will also have to be aware of and track smart contracts and know how much of a client’s money is being held by the contracts. Smart contracts may be the most disrupting aspect of blockchain technology for the general public, and it behooves financial professionals to understand how they work before somebody offers them one. Smart contracts could also be used to replace the traditional post-dated check by being coded to take money out of somebody’s account only when the balance reaches the required amount.
  6. Blockchain is already affecting how companies handle procurement and supplier management. Companies are finding that blockchain streamlines payments to vendors – and accountants are already starting to find they are expected to audit and check on these payments. Procurement is likely to be the first area in which the profession changes and the meaning of the word “audit” is transformed.
  7. Accountants will start to use blockchain for their own cyber security needs. Because blockchain is decentralized, hard to corrupt and hard to alter, it will help prevent alteration of the books and accountants themselves can use it to store their customers’ data in a way that is more secure, harder to tamper with, and less likely to be affected by a point of failure. If used correctly, blockchain can prevent accounting records and electronic documents from being altered or deleted. It can also be used to share certain data easily and seamlessly with auditors and stakeholders. If fraud does occur, blockchain records can be used to spot the anomaly and to provide evidence to law enforcement. Forensic accountants will find it much easier to access and examine related transactions.

Blockchain will not eliminate the accounting profession – but, just like the invention of computers, it will transform it into something new. Accountants need to embrace and learn to understand the potential of this new technology so that they are not left behind and losing clients to firms who are blockchain savvy. Learning to understand exactly how blockchain will disrupt the financial industry and how to best leverage it will be vital for an accountant’s survival over the next few years – and vital for their clients. If you are looking for blockchain and data-related solutions for your accounting practice, contact Concepts Rise.

 

Majid Abai – Los Angeles – June 2018

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Tags: Blockchain, Accountants, Accounting, Blockchain Technology, Concepts Rise.

Is an Initial Coin Offering Right for Your Business?

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have given corporations another option for raising capital. Instead of tapping the equity or debt capital markets, they develop a blockchain-fueled digital token that is then sold to the public for a price. That token must offer some value, whether it’s contained within the ecosystem of the project or beyond, and investors are keen to hunt the next bitcoin or at least hold tokens whose price they are convinced will rise, the latter of which involves speculation. While many of the businesses that have pursued ICOs are startups, some publicly traded companies are jumping in as well.

Whether or not an ICO is the right choice for your business depends in large part on the technology that you have to offer the blockchain community. The ICOs that raise the most capital are generally either those that are the most disruptive to an industry because of the impact they will have or a business that boasts a proven business model and revenue. Messaging platform Telegram is a good example of the latter.

ICO Activity 

Telegram, a messaging platform that’s incidentally used by many ICO issuers to communicate with their investors, launched an ICO in which it was targeting $1 billion and at last-check had reportedly raised $850 million.

The types of companies that pursue initial coin offerings have spilled over into just about every industry vertical, ranging from healthcare to sports and gaming, to power generation and the food supply chain. Most recently, iconic brands including Eastman Kodak and Atari Group have launched blockchain projects in which they plan to develop and sell their own digital tokens. Both companies are listed on public exchanges, and investors were quick to reward Kodak’s stock when it announced the token sale.

ICOs really began to gain steam in 2017 alongside the rise in the bitcoin price. Overall, blockchain companies raised more than $4 billion from token sales last year, attracting both retail and institutional investors.

In fact, many venture capitalists, which traditionally are the financial backers of tech startups, decided rather than compete with this new form of fundraising to join in.

KYC and AML 

In the United States and around the world, ICOs remain largely unregulated. That doesn’t mean that securities regulators aren’t engaged with the market but rather that there are some gray areas that require the business behind or issuer of a digital token to follow protocol.

Chief among these standards are two rules known as know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols. It’s up to the issuer to vet their investors through a whitelist before transacting with any of them. It’s a way to be sure that investors are who they say they are, in an attempt to thwart any fraud from taking place. The United States is one of only a handful of nations around the world that enforce KYC and AML.

The way that a business classifies its digital token is also of utmost importance. The Securities and Exchange Commission has said that any token that resembles a security will be regulated under securities laws.

Many issuers choose to identify their tokens as utility tokens instead, suggesting their sole purpose is to fuel a particular project and not to be traded based on speculation. But the SEC has the final say, and if they disagree they will stop your ICO in its tracks, or recommend that you stop it.

Enter the Fray 

You may be wondering if launching an initial coin offering is the right direction for your business to take. Contact us at Concepts Rise to discuss your fundraising needs and we will advise you on the best course of action to consider.

 

Majid Abai – April 2018 – Los Angeles

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

Three Industries That Are Adopting Blockchain Technology & Changing The World

You’ve no doubt heard about blockchain technology as it pertains to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is, by definition, a digitized, decentralized ledger used to log cryptocurrency transactions as they occur. It’s unalterable, permanent, and nearly impossible to hack, meaning it’s more secure than traditional record keeping. The financial industry has quickly adopted this tech, however, it is also making its way into other industries as a means of securing data, sharing information and improving communications. Three major industries where it is being employed are health care, human resources and even the music industry for many of the same reasons that financial organizations find it useful.

Blockchain In Health Care

Doctors and other health care providers are required by the Affordable Care Act to implement electronic health records (EHRs) for their patients. However, EHRs are not designed to manage the complexities of sharing medical records across multiple institutions throughout a patient’s lifetime. Oftentimes, patients change doctors, or use different clinics and hospitals for their care. When data is scattered in this way, it is difficult for patients to have control over their records and for providers to access them. Blockchain offers an elegant solution, allowing data to be shared across institutions quickly and accurately. One company currently using blockchain in this way is Medrec. While they do not store medical records directly, encoded metadata allows records to be accessed securely, thus unifying access to data across many providers while ensuring the integrity and security of the data.

Blockchain In Human Resources

Performing background checks, verifying information on resumes and checking references take up a lot of time for human resource professionals. Without these verification steps, however, companies find themselves hiring people based on inaccurate or false information. Blockchain technology, however, allows employers a more accurate view of an individual’s credentials, work history and other relevant information, making it easier to determine whether a candidate is qualified. What’s more, it simplifies payroll processes, eliminates costs associated with third-party financial institutions and ensures faster payments to employees. It also enables payments to be converted from cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, into the preferred local currency of the recipient without the cost of currency conversion. The time, energy, and resources saved allow human resource departments to focus on more pressing matters.

Blockchain In Music

Not so long ago, streaming music services and peer-to-peer music sharing applications were all the rage. Music fans were able to download songs, and even entire albums by their favorite artists, oftentimes for free. The industry cracked down on these illegal download services in an attempt to ensure they, and the artists they work with, are compensated appropriately. However, many artists are bucking the system, choosing instead to create music without the bureaucracy and oversight associated with working with record labels. Mycelia for Music, is a blockchain based platform specifically created for musicians. It allows them to use smart contracts to share free-trade music and sell directly to consumers, circumventing labels, lawyers and accountants. Using this system means that royalties are not delayed, but rather paid out automatically to the artist whenever a purchase is made.

Blockchain technology, while still in its infancy, certainly has the potential to disrupt many aspects of our lives, beyond cryptocurrency. The way health care records are managed and shared, employees are hired and paid, and how music and other entertainment is produced and sold will all be affected. That said, these are only three of the industries that are currently working to incorporate it into their business’s operations. If you would like to learn more about blockchain technology and how it applies to your industry, please contact us. We will be happy to show you how to take advantage of this innovative technology to increase your revenues and grow your organization.

Majid Abai – May 2018 – Los Angeles

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Tags: BitCoin, Blockchain, CryptoCurrency, HealthCare, Music, Concepts Rise.

Massive Move to Block Chain is Coming!

Blockchain Technology: Beyond Bitcoin

Bitcoin caused a furor in 2017 when it erupted on the crypto market, drawing the attention of businesses and industry to the revolutionary blockchain technology behind it. Developed by the enigmatic person or group calling itself Satoshi Nakamoto ( a “Satoshi” is now the smallest monetary unit of a Bitcoin), the decentralized “incorruptible ledger” has security and transparency advantages that quickly became apparent to tech-savvy business professionals.

One of the easiest ways to wrap your mind around the decentralized nature of blockchain is to consider the Google Docs analogy by William Mougayar, a venture advisor and author of The Blockchain is the New Database, Get Ready to Rewrite Everything. In the analogy, Mougayar compares blockchain to a shared Google doc with a team of writers contributing, with a Microsoft Word doc representing the traditional way of handling transactions on the internet.

The Google document is constantly updated in real-time so that everyone is literally on the same page with a record of who is responsible for any changes. The traditional internet transaction, the Microsoft Word document, results in many different copies sent back and forth, requiring an editor, or centralized authority, to determine which altered copy is the final authentic version.

The fundamental concept of sharing without copying on a continuously updated incorruptible spreadsheet has obvious advantages for any business application relying on accurate and timely data.

  • Storage distributed across the network of individual computers (nodes) eliminates any single point of failure.
  • Blockchain cannot be controlled or manipulated by any single entity.
  • Data is transparent and public. Any attempt to alter data after the fact is easily detected by the network.
  • Blockchain provides the highest degree of accountability.
  • Blockchain enhances peer-to-peer transactions, eliminating “middleman” roles, fees, and commissions.

Let’s take a look at how businesses across the board can apply the advantages of the blockchain.

Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are coded on the distributed blockchain ledger and execute automatically when specified conditions are met. According to the World Economic Forum, smart contracts could equal 10% of the global GDP by 2027.

Insurance

Andrew Meola, writing for Business Insider, states that smart contracts for insurance might arguably be the greatest application for blockchain. All contracts and claims would be recorded transparently on the public blockchain. Multiple claims on the same accident would easily be detected and rejected by the network.

Real Estate

No industry will be more disrupted by blockchain than real estate as we know it today. Tokenization of real estate is enabling high-value assets trading via digital channels, as well as fueling investment by enabling fractional ownership. Liquidity is also improved as tokenized assets can be readily traded for fiat currency on exchanges.

Smart contracts will allow buyers and sellers to save on commissions and fees by eliminating intermediary roles for brokers, lawyers, and banks. Companies such as ATLANTare already mobilizing to handle peer-to-peer real estate transactions and tokenized ownership.

Big Data and Data Storage

A distributed super-secure network where virtually every computer is continuously verifying stored information is the tool Big Data has been waiting for. Blockchain security prevents loss of critical data and preserves data integrity, for example eliminating the possibility of confusion caused by two separate and conflicting data sets.

The Health Care Industry

In 2015 health insurer Anthem was one target in a wave of cyber attacks which resulted in 100 million hacked medical records. Believed to be from China, the hackers were able to access the Anthem database revealing the names, social security numbers, and birth dates of over 78 million customers. The hackers were able to obtain administrator credentials with a phishing email.

Blockchain will eliminate these types of vulnerabilities to cyber-attack but it’s continually updating characteristic will also keep medical records up-to-date, avoiding misdiagnoses caused by multiple datasets generated by various medical practitioners. Blockchain would create a single precisely accurate resource on each patient, used by all practitioners involved in treatment.

General Business Applications

The immutable security and real-time updating of the blockchain distributed network make it inevitable that blockchain technology will indeed rewire the internet and business as we know it. All businesses will benefit from enhanced asset tracking and blockchain is sure to become the standard for supply chain management, enabling the tracking of goods from order to shipment.

Integration with IoT can convert inventory management to a nearly fully automated process. Accounting and record management will achieve optimal levels of accuracy by eliminating duplicate or fraudulent entries. It won’t be long now when the question “Why are businesses moving to blockchain?” is replaced by “How did businesses ever operate without Blockchain?”

At Concepts Rise we’ve made it our mission to focus on the latest cutting-edge technologies to increase your business revenues, lower costs, and help your business grow so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Majid Abai – March 2018 – Los Angeles

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

Tags: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Blockchain Technology, Concepts Rise.

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Big Data + Big AI = Big Results

Based on a 2017 marketing report from IBM[1], 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, at a rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day! And, the report adds, with new devices, sensors, and technologies emerging, the data growth rate will likely accelerate even more.

With so much data to analyze, a great number of organizations, large and small, have invested in building Big Data repositories that contain both internal and external data; and developing new processes and models to take advantage of this informative data.

Big Data has been an excellent topic of conversation in IT departments, executive meetings, and even boardrooms for some time now, and due to excellent results associated with Big Data, we expect the trend to continue for many years to come.

In addition, we are seeing a new approach that can and will raise Big Data to a new level – and that is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes to analyze specific areas. You have heard a lot about AI in self-driving vehicles, drones, home cleaning robots, and other areas.

With Big AI being utilized ­in financial, law, healthcare, insurance, and other industries which would allow organizations to focus and customize their products and services to a specific client.

For example, in financial industry, we’re seeing a trend of organizations replacing their stock analysts with AI agents in order to maximize the effectiveness of stocks for each of their clients. Black Rock, for example, has been a pioneer in such movement[2]. In addition to stock selection, financial sector will soon find a variety of AI agents and apps that would customize and manage wealth, savings, credit card selection, purchase analysis – and a lot of other functions for the consumer.

In law, an AI program called Robot Lawyer has successfully overturned more than 160,000 parking tickets in New York and London alone[3] – and is expanding to other areas in the US!

In healthcare, the impact would be even more drastic! With all IoT and mobile devices available for use and the ability to analyze personal data, parental history, and other data sources, we could see a big impact in use of AI in Healthcare anywhere from establishing appointments, increase throughput within hospitals, and even getting patients to and from clinics.

Insurance industry has started using AI for claims management and fraud detection – as well as underwriting and loss prevention[4].

In retail, AI will be amazing! Logistics (just-in-time ordering and shelf management), sales improvement (more customized coupons, and better shopping basket analysis), payment processing (evident from Amazon’s purchase of Wholefoods), and fraud detection and loss prevention (to catch a thief – on spot!), we will see a wholesale change in how retail will start to function.

It is important to reiterate that although I use the examples associated with larger organizations, smaller and mid-sized organizations can certainly take advantage of Big Data and Big AI without having to make multi-million dollar investments. Every company would be able to use the same set of data and processes and take advantage of its Big Results.

 

Majid Abai – June 2017 – Los Angeles

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

[1] IBM Marketing Cloud, “10 Key Marketing Trends for 2017” – https://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=WRL12345USEN&

[2] Sara Krouse, Wall Street Journal, March 28th 2017:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/blackrock-bets-on-robots-to-improve-its-stock-picking-1490736002

[3] Arezou Rezvani, NPR, January 16, 2017: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/16/510096767/robot-lawyer-makes-the-case-against-parking-tickets

[4] Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/e07cee0c-3949-11e7-821a-6027b8a20f23?mhq5j=e1

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How IoT Data is Changing the Healthcare Industry

IoT, or the internet of things, is making a big impact on the healthcare industry. A report by Allied Market Research predicts the IoT healthcare market will reach $136.8 billion worldwide by 2021. The internet of things is changing the way patients and healthcare personnel interact with many ways. Below are three ways IoT is revolutionizing the healthcare industry.

Internet of Things Can Integrate Different Medical Devices

Only a few decades ago doctors used to record their notes by hand and enter patient data into antiquated devices. Now, with modern technology and the internet of things, it’s easier than ever before for people to seamlessly connect medical devices to one another. This means physicians can easily get access to patient data using a range of devices. For example, tools like blood pressure cuffs can automatically transmit vital signs and other important data into the hospital’s electronic medical record. Patients can also use in-home medical devices to submit data to their healthcare provider. When medical devices are integrated, it can make life simpler for both patients and physicians.

Internet of Things Can Help Streamline The Workflow 

The internet of things can also help healthcare organizations streamline their processes and optimize their workflow. The powerful technology gives physicians and healthcare personnel the power to collect, view and analyze patient data faster than before. Instead of creating a paper trail for every patient, hospitals can identify patients using wrist bands with sophisticated tagging technology. Integrated medical devices and streamlined work processes can help medical staff identify and diagnose health issues more quickly than before.

Internet of Things Can Help Healthcare Organizations Manage Inventory

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations have to track a wide range of expensive medical equipment. They can learn a lot from the retail industry, which was one of the first industries to use the internet of things to track physical inventory. The technology can make it easier for hospitals to monitor their devices and integrate data into their inventory management systems or ERP systems on the back-end.

Internet of Things Can Improve Member Engagement with Payers and Hospitals

Healthcare IoT can also improve member engagement between payers, hospitals and patients. Members can use the technology to monitor their personal health information and access their health records. Internet of things can also help patients submit real-time information about their health directly to their provider. When patients play a more active role in their healthcare, it can help doctors understand what they need.

The IoT phenomenon will likely grow due to technology like smart sensors and wearable devices becoming more affordable for hospitals and patients. More hospitals also have access to high-speed internet.

Unfortunately there are some disadvantages associated with using internet of things in a healthcare environment. It is expensive to develop a complete infrastructure for connected devices connected. Payers, hospitals and other players also have to make sure to have security provisions that will protect patient data from hackers.

Overall, IoT can make healthcare more personalized and increase patient engagement. Although the technology currently focuses on inventory management, workflow optimization and device integration, it has unlimited potential and can impact other parts of the healthcare industry. The internet of things healthcare market is also expanding due to companies rushing to develop devices and fitness applications that can help physicians collect data and monitor patients.

Please contact us today to learn more about how you could use high-tech innovations in artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, Internet of Things, etc. to help your company increase revenues and streamline operations.

 

Majid Abai – September 2017 – Los Angeles.

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

 

A Few Applications of Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Augmented reality is a way to obtain additional information about a situation using special apps, headsets, or goggles. Unlike virtual reality, these devices do not project a different world to you but instead, add an extra data layer about the situation you are currently in. Augmented reality has applications in gaming, with the most popular example being Pokémon Go – as well as other industries.

Additional applications include marketing, with apps that allow you to visualize 3D projections of potential purchases or learn more about an item by scanning it with a camera. One field where augmented reality is proving useful is healthcare. Several projects already exist that are using augmented reality, and many more applications are currently in the research stage. Here are some examples of uses of augmented reality in healthcare.

Overlaid Diagnostics

According to an article from The Smithsonian, a lab called the Augmentarium at the University of Maryland is developing a unique tool for doctors and surgeons. This tool uses custom software with the Microsoft HoloLens to project diagnostic images for a surgeon to see while they are interacting with patients or performing surgery. Surgeons can focus on the patient and not look away for additional information, which saves critical time.


 Holographic Navigation Platform

A company called Scopis has a similar tool called the Holographic Navigation Platform, described at the Medical Augmented Reality blog. The tool also uses the Microsoft HoloLens. Healthcare professionals can work with a 3D holographic representation of a part of a patient’s body, such as the spine. Prior to surgery, they can make detailed plans with this representation, like deciding how to position screws. During the surgery, the holographic representation projects an image on the spine, and sensors help the surgeon pick the exact angle and location for actual insertion of the screw.

Proximie App

The Proximie App lets medical professionals stream video of their procedures and share information with other professionals. It is ideal for when an expert cannot attend a procedure, but their input is still essential. Watching the stream remotely, this expert can make annotations in the video, including text, images, and links to other videos, to suggest how to continue with the procedure. The app is also helpful for training medical students. Instead of just watching a procedure in person, by watching through the Proximie App, they will have access to extra learning material associated with it provided by their teachers.

Prosthesis Training

A post on the MDDI website describes a system for helping amputees learn how to use an arm or hand prosthesis using augmented reality. The system is from the Interactive Media Systems Group at the Vienna Institute of Technology. It uses the Oculus Rift in addition to special sensors to detect motion and muscle movement in the patient’s arm. With the headset on, a patient sees a field of balls as well as an arm and hand representing their prosthetic. They learn to control how it moves as well as how to grasp and release using the muscles in the arm that it connects to. A patient can learn how to coordinate their movements and use different levels of force when grasping an object.

These are just four examples of ways augmented reality is useful for the healthcare field. There are many more applications, including systems to help nurses accurately see veins, tools to help autistic children learn to interact with people, and apps to help people regulate their emotional and physical health.

The Medical Augmented Reality blog provides more examples of healthcare applications. Another source of information on the topic is this blog post from MDDI online. In the near future, other creative applications of augmented reality will help the healthcare field progress in new, unexpected ways. For more information on uses of augmented reality in healthcare and other fields, please contact us.

 

Majid Abai – September 2017 – Los Angeles.

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About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (www.ConceptsRise.com), a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.