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News

3 Crucial Online Security Tools to Keep Your Data Safe Online

As news of major data breaches seems to come on what feels like a daily basis, from Heathrow airport and the NHS to social media services, it is understandable that cybersecurity is a growing concern, not just for businesses of all sizes but for everyday internet users too. According to the Gemalto Breach Level Index, the first six months of 2018 saw 4.5 billion records compromised.

In an environment where even major international organisations are failing to prevent breaches, it is understandable to feel that it’s impossible to keep your data safe. Thankfully, most data breaches can be prevented with simple software that is affordable and readily available.

Online Security Tools – How to Keep Your Data Safe Online

Essential online security tools to keep your data safe online
Online data security is all that matters in this new economy (where data is the new sexy), and that is why it is essential you have an online security tools in place to keep your data safe online.

If you want to keep yourself secure online, using these three essential online security tools will make sure that your data and online activity are protected, and the threat of becoming the victim of an attack is significantly reduced.

Antivirus

Probably the most common form of defence against data breaches and hacks is antivirus software. While human error is responsible for four out of five data breaches, antivirus software can help to identify or remove malicious software and spyware before it causes irreparable damage.

Email attachments, for example, can help to spread viruses through various phishing techniques. To minimise your risk of opening a potentially malicious attachment, be sure to choose an antivirus that includes an email scanner. An integrated scanner will monitor your emails in real time, flagging potential viruses, spyware and Trojans, and preventing you from opening dangerous files.

For many mobile users, it has become a routine to actively avoid installing updates for fear of reducing their device’s performance. This is a dangerous habit, as updates and patches across all of your devices are essential for ensuring that you are protected against new and emerging threats. Updates cost nothing, take moments to implement and can often be automated – so there’s really no excuse for not keeping your antivirus software up to date.

VPNs

An increasingly popular online security tool for improving the state of your online security is a VPN service. Standing for Virtual Private Network, the tool’s main ability is to provide anonymity to your browsing sessions. This is done by allowing users to connect to the internet via secure servers located across the world.

By ‘tunnelling’ user data through their servers, VPN services are able to conceal a user’s IP address and browsing activity. This not only prevents prying eyes, but also prevents tracking by advertisers, reducing your chances of seeing targeted ads.

For extra security, VPN services also offer end-to-end encryption to ensure that even if your data was accessed, all that would be visible would be a string of unintelligible letters and numbers – keeping your bank details or passwords secure.

An important feature to make sure your VPN service includes is a kill switch. As with any online connection, there is a risk that a connection to a VPN’s servers could go down unexpectedly. If this happens, there is a possibility that your IP address and other information could be exposed, revealing your activity and putting your data at risk.

A kill switch will notice the dropped VPN connection and disconnect your internet at the same time, ensuring your data remains safe. Some services will implement this automatically, while some will have the option in the settings, but users should ensure a kill switch is in place before connecting to their service.

Password Managers

Despite it being common knowledge that simple passwords like ‘abc123’, ‘passw0rd’ or ‘letmein’ are easy to guess, people still use them because they are easy to remember. A 2017 survey by Splash Data shockingly revealed that the most popular password is still ‘123456’, followed by ‘password’. This demonstrates that despite the risks, many people still choose to prioritise convenience over security.

With the average business employee needing to track 191 passwords for accessing their various accounts across banking, shopping, work and personal accounts, it is understandable that using memorable passwords is more preferable than complex strings of complex letters and numbers.

The safest way to use complex, secure passwords without struggling to remember them all is a password manager. This tool will remember all of your complex passwords, and will mean you will only need to remember one – the password manager’s own password. While there are many options, both paid and free, be sure to choose an online security tool that reminds you to regularly update your passwords and will suggest new complex passwords to keep your accounts as secure as possible.

No matter your knowledge of cybersecurity or your budget, these three online security tools are essential steps towards ensuring that your online security is strong enough to keep your online activity, passwords and data protected. However, it is also important that common sense is also applied alongside software.

While these online security tools can help to protect you, careless activity, such as opening suspicious attachments, is something that security software cannot protect against. So, personal responsibility also needs to be a factor in building a multifactor security setup.

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Motoring

Sustainable Motorways – The Way Forward

If you’ve ever wondered about the concept of smart and sustainable motorways, you’ve come to the right place. Below are presented some of the most technologically advanced ideas going around in the industry. So prepare to be amazed with what the future holds in terms of sustainability and its use in roadway networks!

Cutting-edge technology such as drones and embedded cameras and sensors are only the beginning of the continuous advancements planned for smart motorways.

“What are smart motorways?”, you ask.

In layman terms, they are sections of motorways with upgraded facilities like variable speed limits, dynamic hard shoulders, monitoring sensors, and cameras.

The best use for solar energy

Curiosity and the constant need to evolve, which are parts of human nature, have led  researchers towards working on making every part of our life easier, smarter and more sustainable. For example, they are planning, and in some case already implementing the use of solar panels on motorway lanes. These super-resilient solar panels will be made the base component for roads instead of traditionally used tarmac. Using the sun as the power source to charge these panels, they will be then used to show speed limits, warn drivers about lane closures and might even be able to charge on-board car accessories and road signs.

Conducting roads

The future that we all thought impossible is now knocking on our doors. With really long charging times, most people are put off of EVs due to this specific downside. This could all change with “electric” roads. The main concept behind this idea is to boost sustainable mobility by introducing roads with a special on-the-go inductive charging mechanism. These motorways would work based on a similar concept as to that of wireless phone chargers, for example. A designated wiring system would induce an electromagnetic field through coils under the top layer of the road and work towards transferring energy to the vehicles running above.

These eco-friendly lanes will prevent unnecessary carbon air pollution. Some cities, such as Milton Keynes in the UK have already starting to change their infrastructure when electric buses were introduced. They are charged during the night at depots and also during their stops at various bus stations. This brilliant idea can also be implemented on parking lots too. Sweden has already opened up the world’s first electric-car friendly road back in April 2018. It charges all cars and trucks that drive on it. On top of that, Sweden also aims to completely eliminate fossil fuel consumption in the next 10 years and other countries should try their best to follow the amazing examples and goals that they’re setting.

Motorway friendly bacteria?

There has been a huge breakthrough in the motorway maintenance sector. In fact all roads including motorways will be able to use this innovative idea to decrease the financial burden that constant repairs and hours of hard labour are. Researchers at Cambridge, Bath and Cardiff Universities have come forward with an ingenious solution in the form of “self-healing concrete”. A certain type of bacteria can be used as a healing agent as they help fill in cracks, stopping the damage of the road surface before it gets worse. When moisture enters the gap, the bacteria produces limestone to secure the crack. Just imagine how this will reduce the unnecessary labor and resources.

Scientists and research institutes of the world are coming towards more progressive solutions to build a safer environment for us all. Some ideas are popular and some are not  yet successful due to budget constraints and practical feasibility. However, while we wait for modern technology to create swift changes; we need to improve our existing means of transportation and make changes in our own lifestyles. For example, whenever possible, opt for bikes or public transport to reduce the amount of harmful air pollution; encourage others to invest in eco-friendly products and services that can reduce the carbon footprint. After all, we can’t afford to lose the only home we have ever known.

Smart Motorways Anatomy - Sustainable Motorways for the future
Smart Motorways Anatomy – Sustainable Motorways for the future

Image source: Oponeo

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Application Design and Development (Mobile or Desktop) CMS Plugins Themes Web Banner Design (Ads Concepts) Web Development & Design Ideas Web Hosting

The Evolution of Web Design – What Are the Best Web Design Practices?

Web development is characterized as the work procedure that goes into making and dealing with a website either for the World Wide Web or for a private system/intranet. The work that goes into change can result in greatness, from being simple and straight forward to being a multi-faceted endeavor of joining a complicated blend of different web applications and social network administrations.

This infographic is showing the transformative story of the evolution of web design, which is unexpectedly still in its early stages.

Let’s delve into the evolution of web design and see what we can learn from it.

Birth of the Internet

The development of the web started during the 1950s, with basic discussions of social communications associated through systems. In the mid-1960s, community work between the University of California in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, the Stanford Research Institute, and University of Utah cultivated the production of ARPANet. ARPANet permitted scientists at UCLA to communicate something specific over a progression of interconnected systems to researchers at the Stanford Research Institute.

Virtual Reality in Web Applications

On Google I/O 2017, a Google software engineer could build up a 360° picture exhibition live on the stage utilizing JavaScript API called WebVR. JavaScript is a programming language which is considered as a principle innovation behind any website. It’s upheld by all internet browsers and gadgets without the requirement for any modules establishment.

The latest design craze

The most recent plan to hit the internet is flat design. As a distinct difference to omnipresent skeuomorphism style (made well known by the UI on Apple items), flat design does away to the hyper-practical representation of an object, rather concentrating on clean lines and flat areas of color.

The Change

Before the philosophy used to be the better, the broader a website was. Sites were stuffed with videos, photographs and other such highlights, and that is the thing that impressed users.

But now time has changed…

Not it’s about a site being refined, something that goes practically unnoticed by the common users. Websites today work on being more stylish, satisfying and interactively smoother than those of the past. The evolution of web design has cause web improvement to become much more personal, according to the requests and needs of different customers.

That brings me to this infograph below, it detailed everything else that is to learn about the evolution of web design in this century.

The Evolution of Web Design

The evolution of web design and branding
The evolution of web design and branding in this 21st century and what it means for your small business success.

This infographic picture was produced by the guys from from fullestop.

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Blockchain Technology

10 Industries That Blockchain Disruptions Will Radically Transform

Blockchain is a disruptive technology. In fact, the name comes from its ability to decentralize, secure, incentivize and digitize the validation of transactions. A vast majority of industries are already looking into the possibilities of blockchain to see whether or not it can make a strategic difference in the traditional way they do business.

Soon-to-be disrupted industries include but are not limited to cybersecurity, banking, real estate, crowdfunding, transport, online music, energy management, healthcare, voting, and retail. The reason why blockchain disruption is gaining a lot of traction is that it is set to transform the above-listed industries radically.

Blockchain and Industries:- 10 Industries That Blockchain Disruption Will Radically Transform

Blockchain Technology
There are lots of misconceptions about blockchain technology that might take ages to recorrect. Many see it as the new DOT COM bubble that would soon blast while some people see it as the next disruption that would channel us into the next chapter of the human race. On the other hand, some other people see it as a baby lacking motherly care, hence they seek for it to be censored so the baby won’t go wayward. However, the bottom line remains that, blockchain technology is here to stay and it might mean diverse things to many people at different times – but you learning about the right perspective of it would be for your own good.

Cyber Security

Experts in cyber security are increasingly starting to evaluate and assess how blockchain technology can address the issues of cybersecurity around the globe. This tech has the mechanism to change the traditional systems’ data security by creating a distributed network for storing and maintaining data. In the same industry, data will be secured by using advanced cryptography thus making it impenetrable and resistant to unauthorized changes and hacking.

Banking

In the banking industry, as well as many other financial institutions, blockchain tech can be used to provide cryptographically secure ways of sending digital assets, without having to rely on a third party or intermediary.

Moreover, smart contracts are set to automate and digitize tedious processes currently experienced in the banking industry such as compliance, claims processing, and distribution of will contents among many other processes. The main aspects of the banking industry that will be targeted by blockchain disruptions are payments, fundraising, clearance and settlements, loans and credits, and securities.

Real Estate

Blockchain technology is also already being experimented with by sellers, renters, and buyers of real estate. This is done to trim the cumbersome middlemen from the industry. By migrating all the paperwork containing records of buying and selling of houses to blockchain databases, the byzantine process can be transformed into a straightforward transaction.

This will ensure that all parties have access to applicable documents. In addition, smart contracts can be verified and time-stamped, and they’ll help reduce the fees and costs of buying and selling homes.

Private Transport & Ride Sharing

Private transport and ride-sharing industry experts expect blockchain technology to bring about travel efficiency and reduce transport costs in the industry. The potential of blockchain disruption to solve the many problems faced in the transport industry are undeniable. These include things like transportation of perishable goods that are temperature controlled, reducing processing and administrative costs, and expediting dispute resolution.

Furthermore, blockchain can be used to create decentralized peer-to-peer ride-sharing apps. This will allow car owners and riders to set the terms and conditions in a more secure platform.

Crowdfunding

Startups and projects have found an easy and reliable way of raising funds in crowdfunding. The revolutionary technique has been developed to create trust between entrepreneurs and supporters. However, crowdfunding has one major downside, and that is the excessive fees they charge.

Blockchain-based crowdfunding promises to bring out smart contracts that do not need the trust needed in the traditional crowdfunding systems. Through this, new and upcoming projects can issue their own tokens which are exchanged for services, products, or cash.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry which heavily relies on legacy systems is also more than likely to be disrupted by blockchain innovation. The reason why blockchain is set to be adopted by the entire healthcare industry is that hospitals need a secure way to store and share data, something that blockchain can facilitate with ease.

Blockchain technology can help hospitals share data with medical professionals, and patients can decide and authorize what data can be shared and what cannot be shared. This will help improve the accuracy and speed up medical diagnosing.

Online Music

Blockchain in the online music industry is set to take center stage in the creation of the digital rights database. The issue of digital rights has been a major concern in the music industry because things such as identifying copyrights of a song and defining the split of royalties between songwriters, performers, publishers, and producers are difficult.

Often, artists lose out on royalties due to a complicated copyright environment, but blockchain disruption is about to change all that. The immutable blockchain ledger system can ensure that no single entity claims ownership, thus providing an effective solution to the problems rocking the online music industry.

Energy Management

The energy industry is also facing a major radical disruption from blockchain startups. This is a likely scenario given that energy management has been a highly centralized industry for quite some time now. With blockchain disruption in the picture, energy providers and consumers will be able to buy directly from each other instead of having to go through a public grid system.

Voting

Society will also be on the receiving end of the blockchain innovation considering that it will likely be adopted in voting systems. This technology can be applied in the registration of voters, verification, and counting of votes.

Retail

A number of retailers are already using bitcoin as one of the accepted means of payment. Although consumers are adopting it at a slow pace, this is expected to change with major retailers investing in blockchain technology. Blockchain disruptions in the retail industry have a host of advantages including cheaper processes compared to credit cards, quick and fast transactions, transparent records, and secure payments.

The infographic we used as our source for this article shows that the blockchain technology revolution is not going away anytime soon. More so, all conditions point out that it is about to disrupt nearly all industries as we know them. It is only a matter of time before industries adopt it on a full scale.

10 Industries That Blockchain Disruptions Will Drastically Transform
Talking about blockchain disruptions and the likely recipient of their disruption in the next couple of years to come, here we have the ten industries that Blockchain disruptions will drastically improve and transform.
Categories
Energy Green Energy

4 Reasons Why Renewable Energy Is Better For The Economy

The world is slowly turning to renewable energy for power generation. Considering the negative impacts of fossil fuels, this move comes as no surprise. Now, over seven countries power themselves solely through renewable energy. Others are also following suit. It is being predicted that by 2022, 30% of the world’s total electricity production will be done via renewable sources of energy.

Apart from being better and more sustainable for the environment, renewable energy is also better for the economy. Here is why.

Why Renewable Energy Is Better for Our Economy

4 Reasons Why Renewable Energy Is Better For The Economy

1. It helps in creating jobs

The renewable energy sector is growing at an exponential rate. There are quite a lot of people employed in the industry. Currently, it provides over 10 million jobs in the world. The highest contribution to employment within the sector is by solar power that has succeeded in creating over 3 million jobs. Also, apart from energy generation, sustainable solutions are also quite the rage these days, thereby creating more jobs.

Not only is the sector responsible for creating jobs in an economy, but more importantly, it is doing so in places that matter. For instance, wind turbines can be installed in both urban and rural areas alike. In rural areas, they help in providing income to the local people. Also, while fossil fuel and non-renewable energy generation are capital intensive and mechanized, this is not the case with the renewable energy sector. Instead, the renewable energy industry is highly labor intensive. For instance, Solar panels need to be installed manually. On the other hand, you need to have technicians for maintaining a wind farm. So, on an average, more jobs are created by this sector than the fossil fuel industry.

Another way the industry helps the economy is by making sure that work is assigned locally. With globalization, we have witnessed an increase in offshoring. However, the renewable energy industry makes use of indigenous resources. So, employment and expenditure are concentrated within the country.

Renewable source of energy helps in creating jobs
Renewable energy helps in creating jobs for the masses. Its introduction further open doors of opportunities for job seekers.

2. The ripple effect on the economy

Governments and businesses alike have a lot to gain by investing in renewable energy. For the government, the success of the sector would allow them to collect more taxes. It has been noted that installing a wind turbine can lead to gaining between $3000 to $6000 per megawatt of electricity produced. The more the owners will earn, the more they will be taxed. This tax can then be used by the government to deliver public services for the betterment of the country.

The rural community particularly is bound to benefit from the rise of the renewable energy sector. This is because they will be able to rent their land for the operations of renewable energy projects. In return, they can get royalties or rent (whatever is decided upon contract). Additionally, one primary type of renewable energy is biomass. This requires feedstock. Farmland owners can deliver their services to such firms by producing the necessary feedstock. So, the development of the sector will cause a ripple effect whereby more and more people will be able to benefit from the industry.

In terms of investment, it is believed that by 2025, the US alone could see an investment of $263 billion in the sector. More than $13 billion would be generated for farmers via their involvement in the biomass sector, and $11.5 billion can be made in taxes. Considering that these figures are just for one country, you can imagine the benefit the overall world economy can have due to the sector.

Green energy has a lot of advantages on the economy
Green energy has a lot of advantages on the economy. The ripple effect on the economy is enormous because it creates possibilities.

3. Improvement in human welfare

When you think of economic benefits, the chances are you only consider GDP, employment and growth rates of various areas as only viable indicators. Seldom is human welfare taken into account. Well, for a government, human well-being is a significant economic benefit.

A benefit that renewable energy succeeds in delivering is that improves human welfare. How? Well, it can be scaled to areas that previously did not have electricity. While fossil fuel grid systems may not be reachable to rural areas, this is not the case with renewable sources. People who are not connected to the grid system can install their own solar panels to generate electricity. This improves the standard of living of the masses. This economic benefit has been realized in various developing countries as well as rich ones. For instance, in Bangladesh, over 3.5 million homes are powered through solar energy.

Also, the lack of use of fossil fuel itself helps in improving human welfare. This is because the use of fossil fuel has a high societal cost. A government can end up saving billions of dollars by switching to renewable energy. The impact of fossil fuel includes drastic climate change, health damages caused by gases and mercury emissions, fatalities in coal mines and transport and the loss of land during mining.

The effects can be illustrated by looking at China. In China, every year, more than 670000 people lose their lives due to coal emissions. Due to the country’s dependence on fossil fuel, over 157 million people live in areas that have a high level of air pollutants.

Renewable energy not just contribute to the economy or creates job for people, it also brings about improvement in human welfare
Renewable energy not just contribute to the economy or creates job for people, it also brings about improvement in human welfare of the masses.

4. Improving trade balance

Fossil fuel isn’t something that every country has an abundance of. This is why some countries end up importing it to generate electricity. The increasing cost of importing fossil fuels may take a toll on the balance of trade of these countries.

By reducing fossil fuel consumption and investing in renewable energy sources instead, the balance of trade can be improved, thereby enhancing a given country’s GDP. Therefore, the move to renewable energy helps an economy be more stable than before.

Conclusion

All in all, there is no doubt about the fact that renewable energy is better for the economy as well as for the people. One might wonder why the world has been slow in adopting the technology considering its benefit. Well, one thing is for sure that now slowly we are moving towards a renewable source. As they say, better late than never!

Categories
Designs & Invention Disruption Tourism Travel

Future of Transportation: Will Flying Cars Take us Everywhere?

Flying cars are not a new concept for sure, especially in today’s world where many inventions that once seemed far-fetched are becoming a reality now.

Some of these technologies have already entered our daily life – a wide use of smart watches or drones doesn’t surprise anyone anymore. Sooner rather than later we’ll also get used to autonomous cars or holograms.

It seems that only flying cars are not there yet … or are they already here? Let’s take a look at some facts, statistics and the latest developments in the field of autonomous traveling.

Future of Transportation - Will Flying Cars Take us Everywhere
Let’s go back in time to check the history of flying car. From the conceptualization of what we now have today as a flying cars to where the ideology started from. We can be certain that the future is bright for this emerging industry.

A Brief History on Flying Cars

Experiments related to flying cars can be tracked back to the 18th century to the French sailor, Jean Marie Le Bris. Fascinated by the sight of flying birds, Le Bris attempted to turn his horse-drawn cart into a flying vehicle and according to reports, he did manage to make a small flight though it wasn’t an entirely successful one.

Since then, there have been hundreds of such attempts, especially in the 20th century. In case of most of these inventors, their ideas and dedication were surely in the right direction but they failed simply because of the lack of technology.

Flying Birds as concepted by French sailor, Jean Marie Le Bris in his first attempt on Flying Cars
Flying birds idea inspired french sailor, Jean Marie Le Bris in his first attempt to solve the problem on Flying Cars. Today, we have a wide range of projects supporting the same ideology.

Facts And Figures on Flying Cars

Up till now, more than 300 million dollars have been raised for flying car start-ups and many prominent corporations like Toyota have also been working on this technology. While most of the start-ups are US-based, many EU-based companies have also been making headlines lately with Lilium and Volocopter being two of the most cash-loaded inventions.

Uber aims to commercially launch its five-seater, flying hybrid car by 2023 while the German company, Lilium, might be all set for its first manned test flight as soon as this year!

Uber making flying cars dream real - Facts And Figures
Uber is making flying cars dream a realistic agenda. It won’t be too long before we all could fly in the air onboard our individual dream cars.

An article by Akura Kwanga here on TechAtLast talks about the possibilities of an airborne Bartini blockchain taxi. Bartini Aerotaxi will become first man’s wheels in the air made possible by disruptive blockchain technology! The credit of that goes to the emerging blockchain technology that is powering the project.

Terrafugia flying car project is yet another interesting air travel project that we’ve been watching for a very long time. They’ve been able to make a lot of progress in the product developments, left for general acceptability and international aviation laws drafted in place to favour its growth.

Consumer Attitudes

A survey done by University of Michigan showed that only 64.8% of the respondents were aware of the concept of flying cars. However, once the idea was explained to them, almost all the respondents showed an avid interest in the technology.

Most respondents felt that the biggest benefit would be the shortening of travel time, but at the same time, they were also concerned about safety and the environment. Considering the growing numbers of eco-conscious consumers, it’s no wonder that more than 60% respondents think that flying cars should be electrically powered.

The Impact

Once flying cars become a reality, they won’t just make traveling more convenient but they’ll be bringing about many other changes too. With fewer cars, the congestion on roads will be reduced and this might even make them safer. The prices of non-flying cars will also go down and so might the insurance premiums.

When it comes to urban landscape, we would probably have taller buildings with parking spaces on top of them. There would obviously be new laws to regulate the traffic in the sky and you would need new licenses to be able to fly. Of course this is all just speculation for now and only time will tell how things actually turn out.

The impact of Flying cars in our community
When talking about the positive impact of flying cars in our future economy, you will agree that it is kinda interesting future ahead of us.

Why This Is The Right Time

When flying car experiments have been failing for centuries, what makes us feel like we won’t fail this time? Well, we finally have the required technology and we already see its potential. Given the fact that the drone related technology has boosted many businesses in industries such as agriculture and construction, a similar ROI is expected from flying cars.

The other factor that is driving this area forward is the marketing momentum that this concept has gained which is why major industry players are willing to invest in it. With these factors in favor of flying cars, most analysts and researchers believe that within the next two decades, flying cars will become a part of the mass market.

Will Flying Cars Take us Everywhere?
Will flying cars take us everywhere? That was the question, and the answer is yeah, it is the future of transportation!

Summing up, with so many major players on board, the concept of flying cars does not feel like a dream anymore. However, there are still certain technological limitations, governmental regulations and cost constraints due to which we can’t expect to be flying off on holidays too soon. Nevertheless, we are likely to, in the future!

Categories
Business Marketing Social Media

5 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2019 for Advertisers and Influencers

Do you know important social media marketing trends to take note and probably integrate into your marketing strategy in 2019?

The start of the new year is the perfect time to take a closer look at your marketing efforts. Social media marketing is changing at a fast pace with increased connectivity and more than 3.3 billion social media users globally. That means in order to keep up, marketers need to keep an eye out for the latest trends and ensure they are keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of social media marketing. Here are the most important social media marketing trends to note and integrate into your marketing strategy for 2019.

Social Media Marketing Trends for 2019 You Can’t Avoid To Miss Out On

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING TRENDS FOR 2019
Every new year offers you another chance at changing what failed to work and to embrace what does works. Here we present you top social media marketing trends for this year.

1. Engagement

Engagement is one of the most important ranking factors in the social media marketing world right now, especially with Facebook’s updated algorithm. Early in 2018 they announced that their algorithm would be changing to favor meaningful interactions. Users have been struggling to adjust to this update throughout 2018 and now that we are moving into a new year, have finally started to get their footing. This means the competition for the most meaningful content is at its highest.

It is no longer enough to encourage likes, comments and shares on your posts. People should want to interact organically because the content is engaging. Content that sparks a genuine conversation or evokes authentic interest will rank higher on social media platforms. Say goodbye to clickbait headlines with empty content. Marketers and page managers need to focus on creating interesting content in 2019.

2. Micro and nano influencers

Influencer marketing is not a new concept. We have all seen celebrity influencers endorsing products on their Instagram and Twitter pages. However, those sponsored campaigns are becoming more and more expensive. Companies who don’t want to shell out millions of dollars are instead turning to micro and nano influencers. These smaller-scale influencers with under 50k followers cost much less than say, Kim Kardashian.

These influencers have a strong, authentic following and tend to have a heavier influence over their followers. We are following these accounts because we trust what they have to say and want to tune into their daily lives. In this way, micro and nano influencers can have a stronger pull over the market than celebrities. They are also much easier to reach and deal with due to the fact that brands can speak to them directly rather than going through representatives.

3. Instagram Stories and Live Videos

Over the past several years, stories on social media, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook for example, have become wildly popular. According to a Merkle’s report, more than 400 million people watch Instagram stories daily and with over 1 billion active Instagram users, that number will continue to grow. 80 percent of those active accounts follow at least one business, meaning there is ample opportunity to build an audience and begin using stories for advertising content.

Since Facebook launched its “Live” feature in 2016 there have been 3.5 billion live broadcasts, doubling year over year. More recently, Instagram has also launched live video features. The widespread popularity of these live broadcasts is a powerful tool for marketers to consider. The interactivity and authenticity of live videos can be used to strengthen the bond between a brand and its followers. Live video leaves room for genuine mistakes. This level of transparency increases trust in a brand and allows followers an inside look into your business.

4. Facebook Messenger Chatbots

Chatbot customer service platforms are one of the most important points of contact between brands and their customers right now and Facebook Messenger chatbots are the most commonly used. Using them via social media is a great way to interact with consumers in a place where they already spend a majority of their time. According to a Facebook survey, 53 percent of customers said they would prefer to shop with a business they can message online.

Not only do these bots answer questions and interact with customers on a human level, they also provide an excellent channel for gathering customer data. They evaluate demographics and their preferences, which can then be used to further tailor marketing efforts directly toward the most receptive customers.

5. Sales Enablement

Product discovery through social media is proving to be a powerful tool for marketers. According to a Mary Meeker report, 55 percent of respondents who found a product on social media went on to purchase it later. Using social networks for product promotion allows brands to promote their products through their posts and get them in front of a massive audience. Although social media is meant for social interactions, it is headed more and more toward becoming a business funnel.

Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the most popular spaces for product promotion. What makes social media channels a more successful place for sales is the fact that businesses don’t necessarily need an outright sales pitch. Instead you can use your social pages to tell your company’s story and let customers in on your mission and values while subtly including products in your posts. This encourages sales while fostering a genuine connection to followers.

Conclusion

As we move further into the new year, take some time to evaluate your social media marketing efforts. Be sure you’re paying attention and keeping up with these social media marketing trends!

Social media marketing is evolving at great pace and failure to evolve with it means you are leaving money on the table for your competitors by not following the latest social media marketing trends and practices.

Categories
Disruption Games Infographic Information and Communication Technology (ICT) IoT (Internet of Things)

The 3D Design Trends to Look for in 2019 for Gaming, Advertising, 360 Images and Video Rendering Industries

3D modelling is one of the fastest growing design trends – set to exponentially increase over the next few years. The multitude uses for 3D designs and models seem to increase every year, and it is becoming essential for those across various sectors to know how to access the most creative designs as quickly and easily as possible.

There are some exciting 3D design trends that are set to dominate the space in 2019 as 3D design begins to permeate nearly every industry.  Platforms such as the Flat Pyramid 3D model marketplace are therefore essential for those in the creative industries, as well as for professionals in the fields of engineering, construction & architecture, education, development, industrial or automotive design.

Hot in 2019: 3D Design Trends Transforming Industries

According to a report by Market Watch, 2018, “The global 3D mapping and 3D modelling market is expected to grow at USD6 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 26% during the forecast period 2018-2023. With the emergence of 3D technologies such as scanners, 3D sensors, and other such devices, the market is expected to grow to a large extent. Adoption of high-speed internet connectivity and advanced technologies are driving the market growth.”

The expert team at Flat Pyramid scour the globe, with an enhanced focus on Africa, for the best and brightest 3D designers. The team’s expertise within the field ensure that the most relevant and innovative designs find their way to the platform. For 2019, the Flat Pyramid team has also identified some key 3D design trends to look out for in the exciting space of 3D modelling and design. 

3D Design in Gaming & Animation

With the exponential increase in gaming globally, the demand for 3D characters and environments is also growing. 3D designers are contributing to the popularity of gaming based on exciting 3D characters, weaponry, landscapes and environments.

3D Design Trends - WebVR games design
WebVR games design is another good example of 3D design trends you shouldn’t ignore in 2019. Lot of gaming development companies are going to be needing your service if you know your beans.

In Africa particularly, there has been a massive increase in the demand for animation, whether for games, short videos, feature length films or advertising campaigns, animation is becoming more and more prominent.  Animated characters, and their 3D counterparts from games or movies, are proving to be valuable as revenue streams in their own right, and marketers are advised to take note.

An example of this is Shudu, the creation of a 29-year-old London-based photographer, Shudu is an Instagram model from Africa with more than 130,000 followers. Shudu is completely and has been called “the world’s first digital supermodel.”

Shudu.gram art work
Shudu is the world’s first digital supermodel. Shudu brand is brought to reality by Flamingo Pixel. You can follow the project on Instagram via @shudu.gram

Film, TV & Advertising

3D design and modelling are also transforming the creative process in the worlds of advertising, TV and film. In 2019 we can expect more storyboarding and even marketing plans and strategies to be presented in 3D format. The use of 3D characters and modelling has opened up new creative opportunities, especially for advertising agencies. Those agencies who are looking for the strategic advantage in 2019 should look at the 3D space.  3D modelling within film and TV can reduce costs, foster creativity and reduce inefficiencies in the production process.

Platforms such as Flat Pyramid’s online marketplace are ideal hunting grounds for creative concepts and talented 3D designers. By sourcing 3D models via online marketplaces, agencies have the flexibility to pick and choose the most relevant and innovative models that suit their client’s needs.

Advances in 3D Printing & Materials

As 3D printers become more advanced and more affordable, the materials available for printing are following suit. New materials, advances in colour options, and an increased focus on sustainability mean that 3D printing is becoming more and more popular for various applications.

A rise in polymer materials for plastic 3D printing will also enable affordability within the space, while rapid changes that have seen the quality of cost–effectiveness of metal materials, means that metal 3D printing will expand beyond the manufacturing sector. A new focus on organic and wearable materials has huge implications for the medical fields, but also for fashion and décor.

From high-tech advances in printing body tissue, and even bone, and 3D printed cement past to hold buildings together in natural disasters, to more mundane uses such as the printing of toys, ceramics, and automotive spares, the variety of materials now available for printing are driving the growth of the industry.

Web VR Game template
Game design is another hot topic you can’t miss when it comes to 3D design trends. This is because of the huge demand for gaming experience around the world, hence it adds to our 3D design trends you must get prepared for in 2019.

African Solutions 

3D design and printing have a particular role to play within the developing world, and in 2019 African innovators will start to take their place within the global marketplace. Already on the Flat Pyramid platform, African designers are sharing their models and designs, and we are sure to see more creative design solutions coming from the African continent in 2019.

Just recently, South Africa’s Red Cup Village announced its first biodegradable design patent cup made from sugarcane & corn-starch in May of 2019. The company uses 3D printing technology to manufacture a unique drinking cup using a polylactide (PLA) filament, which is a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources such as sugarcane and corn-starch.

Somalia Architecture is a project aimed at imagine how Mogadishu once looked as a modern African capital, and to assist in the rebuilding of the city. So far, the team has produced up to 15 3D models including the former parliament, the national theater, the monument of the unknown soldier, and the Mogadishu lighthouse.

360 Videos and 360 Web Pages 

First there was standard definition (SD) videos then High Definition (HD) videos and now, the latest trend is 360 videos and 360 web pages.  

This new form of photography and filmmaking, but for the most part these photos and videos can be seen on 2D phones and devices. While 360 degree video is not the same thing as VR, however, for many, 360-degree spherical content will be the first immersive “VR” experience they have, particularly via Facebook and YouTube.

3D Design Trends for 2019 - Web 360 videos and 360 video ads
Web 360 videos and 360 video ads creation has quickly became a hot 3D design in the creative design industry in recent months. Advertisers are looking for ways to increase conversion and reduce ad spends, 360 video ads promises to deliver a rich user experience and interaction than the current video rendering we have today.

360 videos can be created in two main ways, by using a 360 video camera or through a 3D engine and or WebVR editing tool. However, creating through a 360 camera requires sophisticated post production in order to stitch the video frames together to create an equirectangular, or spherical video. It is also very challenging to use 3D Engines like Unity or Unreal Engine due to the huge learning curve required in mastering this 3D engines and software applications.

The easiest and most effective way to create it that requires no programming/coding skills is through a WebVR editor such as the WebVR editor (https://www.webvrtool.com) developed by Flat Pyramid. This tool enables users to showcase their 3D models as a 360 video or a 360 web page.

With Flat Pyramid’s WebVR editor you can you can create WebVR experiences using the WebVR Editor and export it as a 360 Web page and/or generate a 360 video to share.

WebVR - 360 Videos and 360 Web Pages
WebVR technology lets you create 360 Videos and 360 Web Pages with ease. This is a one of the 3D Design Trends to look out for in 2019. Don’t sleep on it!

This is a major breakthrough because for the first time ever 2D & 3D artist, 3D modelers, graphic designers, Illustrators, as well as any creative person anywhere in the world can easily create 360 videos and 360 web pages to showcase their work.

This can be viewed on any regular 2D screen (laptop, mobile phone, etc) and immersively in VR using a virtual reality headset. Prior to this, the only way to showcase 3D models was by using rendered images or through a 3D model viewer.

As we head into 2019, exciting developments are taking place in the space of 3D design and modelling. Please stay in the flow on the hottest of these top 3D design trends.

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When Trends and Technology Collide: A Guide You Should Read This Year

Trends often come and go, but when they collide with technology something different happens. Often, it causes a disruption to whatever industry they are in. Take taxis, for example. The introduction or an easy-to-use app and on-demand ride shares have caused quite the disruption in recent years. The same applies to the vaping industry and how it has made a name for itself, and so on. Some trends and tech are slower to be picked up by the general populace than others, but make no mistake in thinking they aren’t just as important.

4 Famous Trends and Technology Collision Examples

When trends and technology collide, it often causes a paradigm shift. To help you understand how this occurs, follow this guide and take these examples to heart:

Smart Watches

Smart watches offer more maneuverability without the clunk of a smartphone. They are not a replacement, however – simply a good tool to have to make full use of the smartphone without always having it in your hand. Great for business people and those on the go, it will allow you to track your movements, fitness, and even can also incorporate a music device or answer phone calls. Essentially, it gives you the ability to be hands-free, but your phone does need to be nearby for its Bluetooth capabilities to be at their best.

Smartwatches indicate a trend moving towards handless devices. This trend has also been picked up by voice-activated personal assistants, and allow for more control over your tech without directly interacting with it.

Smartwatch - When Trends and Technology Collide. What Happens?
Smartwatches are trendy in nature. Aside the luxurious aspect of wearing them, they also offers you extra features that makes your life much easier. Multitasking becomes easier with them – thanks to trends and technology collision coming into effect simultaneously.

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers are a specific type of smartwatch that is leading the way towards the future. Not only can they be used to help people get more active in their day-to-day life, but they have also been used to reward customers. Gyms, for example, can offer a discount to users who are regulars, thus encouraging them to be healthier every day.

Fitness Tracker Has Heart rate monitor that lets you stay in form - one of the good things of trends and technology collision
Fitness trackers lets you monitor your heart rate, and health status on the go and this is one of the best examples of what happen when trends and technology collides unexpectedly.

Vaping

Vaping is a true hybrid of an enduring trend and technology. Vaping has been around for a while, but it is only recently that the industry has finally taken a leap into the future. Not only can you enjoy modern and sleek designs like those from NJOY, you can also fully customize the experience if you want to. Have a bigger vapor cloud for vape cloud competing, or a smaller cloud for a more discrete and respectful experience in public. Whatever your choice, you can personalize it, all while enjoying more variety in e-liquid than ever before.

Vaping Industry - When Trends and Technology Collides

Vaping has opened up possibilities for new dispersal methods, too; from medicine to caffeine, what’s in your e-liquid could change drastically in the future.

New Luxury Textiles

In the fashion industry, there are a few instances where trends and technology have collided. Sustainable and innovative textiles, for example, have arisen due to the trend shifting towards a more sustainable attitude. This in turn helps the planet and gives fashionistas a new class market to enjoy.

Another shift is towards less waste production. This helps companies be more sustainable, make greater use of their materials, and even brings about the future of custom-made clothing and products for users. Between machine advances and 3D printing, the world is looking to be a completely customizable one.

Luxury Textiles Industry
Luxury textile industry has in recent times attracted new sets of technological advancements – from reusable to custom made production, to reduction in wastage and lots more. The industry has improved greatly.

Technology advances can make our world so much better for everyone involved, but not all tech advances will see the light of day. By combining new tech with trends or old favorites, companies around the world can give themselves a greater edge over their competition and even forge the way into the future.