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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.

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.

4 IoT Devices that Help Reduce Costs for Any Office

In the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen an explosion of popularity, invention, and production. This new philosophy of manufacturing is putting wireless internet access and mobile app control into anything we can think of and the number of ‘smart’ devices grows with each coming month. While it may have originally seemed like a passing fad, the IoT trend has successfully produced an increasing number of truly useful devices. Adventurous businesses have already begun reaping the rewards by integrating smart devices into every layer of business. From the office plants to the inventory floor, the efficiency and innovation of the Internet of Things can now be used to reduce your overhead and delight your employees. While the options are vast, here are four starter IoT devices that could get your office introduced to the cost saving convenience of the Internet of Things.

  1. Smart Thermostats

Managing office temperature is notoriously challenging. Many companies have tried automating their thermostat settings to be cool in the day and warm in the evening, but this almost always backfires. IoT thermostats, on the other hand, can be programmed to maintain a temperature, follow a schedule and be hand-tuned from anywhere in the building. This will help you keep your employees comfortable and reduce the unnecessary costs of over cooling or heating. The remote access also allows you to flip off the AC over nights and weekends even if you forgot to do so before locking up.

  1. Self-Monitoring Office Plants

It sounds silly, but do you know how much an office that uses real plants will spend replacing plants if any die? Potted plants have been found to increase employee happiness and improve indoor air quality, but traditionally they require someone with a green thumb to keep in good condition. Without an at least moderately talented gardener, the plants will wilt and can even die if left insufficiently tended for too long. Now there is an IoT pot that can water itself and send a text when the plant needs a new mix of fertilizer.

  1. App-Controlled Lights

Especially in larger offices with several floors worth of brilliantly glowing halogens, the ability to turn off lights without having to visit each light switch is a major relief for energy-conscious property managers. If your office electricity bill is high, you can simply use IoT-enabled lights and exercise complete control over your office illumination and turn off those lights when nobody is working.

  1. Cold Storage Sensors

Does your company work with products that need to be chilled and kept dry? From restaurants to florists, maintaining the right cooler environment is vitally important to keeping products high-quality and salable. When your business risks losing money to warm freezers or damp air, having a constant monitor for environmental factors saves hours of employee time constantly checking and noting temperature and humidity. An IoT-enabled sensor can do the checking for you and give you an early warning if something goes wrong before your products are damaged.

These devices are only the tip of the iceberg. As development continues in IoT devices, businesses will see more and more industry specialized internet-enabled devices.  From robots that scan shelves to sensors custom built to monitor factory machinery, IoT is bringing remote access and optimization opportunities to every aspect of a modern business. Today it’s thermostats that conveniently save electricity, but in a few years it could be security camera drones flying circuits.

If you’re interested in learning more about the growing world of the Internet of Things – and how it could help your company increase revenues and/or reduce costs, please contact us today!

Majid Abai – August 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.

 

Will Humans Lose Jobs to AI Agents?

There is a great deal of concern associated with artificial intelligence taking over jobs that are currently performed by humans. It’s a valid concern and one should take a deeper look at the type of a job that could eventually be performed by a robot or some sort of AI agent.

We should also look at this issue from a different perspective: humans. Which will then beg the question of “Whose job will be transferred to an AI agent?”

What I mean to find out is, who is at risk of losing their job to an AI Agent? Whose job will be eliminated and what can be done about it? In this context, we discuss AI Agent in a broad sense: robots, computers, algorithms, and any other AI product.

I think the following is the first group of “at risk” folks, and the first wave of jobs that will be transferred: Everyone who has stopped thinking at work and are fully relying on computers to tell them what to do.

For example, An Uber driver who only pays attention to the route that is provided by their route guidance app and doesn’t survey the surroundings for potentially better route; A retail cashier who will only do what the computer tells her to do and wouldn’t make better recommendations because the computer didn’t say so; A customer service attendant who’s bound by what’s available in the computer and has forgotten the human touch necessary in the customer service industry. In each case, the human only operates within the bounds established by the computer – and performs his or her job without any initiative or innovation.

Let me simplify my point: The first waves of transfers would happen to folks who have fully given to computers and don’t use any imagination, initiative, or innovation to solve daily work problems.

The one thing that AI agents haven’t mastered yet is imagination, initiative, innovation, and service with a smile.

So, if the above premise is correct, we’ve now identified a way for people who are either in the workforce today or will be in the workforce in the near future: make sure to use your brains on the job to solve problems. As of now, we can teach computers a lot of things, but we still can’t teach them initiative, innovation, and the human touch.

If you are still going to school and thinking of what you should study and what work function you should perform, then choose a career that forces you to use your brain, to imagine, and to innovate! That’s the competitive advantage that will keep you on a job in the future.

 

Majid Abai – July 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.

 

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FBI Warns of Security Issues of IoT Devices

After reviewing a November 8th article from Wall Street Journal, we can see one of the unintended consequences of our connected lives. The article, titled “FBI Warns internet Online Attacks on Private Business Will Continue” – should be used as a wake up call on potential dangers of such devices. You can see the full article here.

As IoT devices become more relevant to our day to day lives and are utilized more in our business world, their vulnerabilities become more apparent and potential dangers loom in.

This will become a very important time for manufacturers of such devices to think about the ability to analyze warning signs of such attacks and to notify other devices of such dangers.

As we can see, we have a long way to go.

Majid Abai

November 2016

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 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director and Chief Sherpa at Concepts Rise (www.ConceptsRise.com), a Hi-Tech selection, management, & implementation consultancy to US and international organizations. With over 30 years of experience in leading and managing technology organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on technology management and strategy. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at majid.abai@ConceptsRise.com.

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