Technology innovations that will help your busines  
With all the technological innovations that come down the pipeline these days, it's no wonder so many business people are confused as to which they should adopt and which they should avoid. This guide will highlight three excellent recently released pieces of technology that can really add something to your company's set-up.
The Wall Street Scanner
Considering the sheer speed with which data moves in the modern business world, any app, device or software that helps you keep in touch with crucial information as it becomes available is a must-get for the modern company. The Wall Street Scanner is an iPhone app that keeps you and your office connected to the latest economic happenings, regardless of where you are located.
By scanning social networks, tracking corporate sites and checking the stock market minute by minute, this app delivers simple, logically laid out graphs and forecasts regarding all the latest stock trends. This is one of the best ways to get a simple reading of today's economic climate.
The last thing you want to worry about as a company owner or office administrator is new technology that ends up slowing you down. What you are looking for is technology that simplifies what you do, without sacrificing any productivity. Connected HQ is a great example of that latter concept in action.
An intuitive, logically laid out dashboard interface, this brings together all your social media onto a single space. For just $10 per month, you get a brilliantly simplified gateway to your email, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin profiles, plus whatever other profiles you utilise to boost your business. Perfect for the company that does not have time to mess around, logging in and out of platforms.
It's likely you are already signed up for a service that allows you to keep all your files on a cloud-based platform. Soonr does this too, but comes with the advantage of being optimised for workgroup projects.
If your business runs on collaboration, then Soonr will be ideal. It configures alerts so all the team is kept in the data loop at all times, while projects can easily be assigned across your workforce from a single, centralised space.
Bill Gates Quotes about technology and business  
For anybody that wants to know about how technology can be turned into business and how technology can power business, there is one man you simply have to listen too: Bill Gates. The chairman of Microsoft not only redefined technology in his incredible career but also did more to bring hardware and software into the business mainstream.
Here are a few of his most telling, wise and intelligent quotes.
Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.
At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top - I'm afraid that's not quite right.
Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.
Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.
People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn't they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines... There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicon masters.
The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.
This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.
Whether it's Google or Apple or free software, we've got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes.
There are people who don't like capitalism, and people who don't like PCs. But there's no-one who likes the PC who doesn't like Microsoft.
The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don't really even notice it, so it's part of everyday life.
The future of mobile phones   
Mobile phones have come a long way. You only have to look at archive footage from the 1980s to see business people catching up on news while holding massive, unwieldy, brick-sized objects. Phones have become steadily more compact, sleeker in design and easier to pop inside a pocket or in a handbag compartment, even as the range of functions they are capable of continues expanding.
One of the all-pervading buzzwords of modern times is 'apps'. There are thousands of apps which can be downloaded to your phone, enabling you to do a whole range of stuff, from identifying and then purchasing snatches of overheard music, to real-time train timetables, to star-charts of the night sky.
With so much technology, literally, at your fingertips, what are the likely trends for the next decade or so? Phones are likely to get smaller still, as hardware designers keep on coming up with innovative ideas to compact those circuit boards and plastic shells. The multi-purpose aspect of phones will be covered – it is a long time since these items were purely used for telephone communication. Even the tiniest models will be offering increasingly sharp high-definition screens. When used as a picture frame, your phone will form a comforting focal point for you wherever you are, in the office or at home.
Phones will become increasingly customizable, allowing the customer to have greater input into how their own mobile phone will look. As well as a choice from a range of Perspex cases, you'll be able to purchase from a host of attachments. Advances in case designs will mean that your phone will offer a multi-sensory experience for the user. Even when it is not actually in use, it could be emitting scents, or radiating coloured lights. The latter aspect will be particularly useful for those occasions when your phone has annoyingly disappeared from your immediate field of vision!
With society becoming more and more fixated on being eco-friendly, your phone will ingather information in areas such as how much electricity and gas you consume, and how you dispose of waste. This data will be saved into your phone, with the incentive of free texts or calls the more environmentally friendly you prove to be.
Finally, new generations of mobile phones will use artificial intelligence that will allow them to tap into a user's emotions, such as anger or happiness. Phones will also recognise the voice of their owner, allowing for a much more streamlined interaction, particularly where voice-activated software is concerned.
What you need to know about wearable technology  
Wearable technology is being massively touted as the future for communication, entertainment and personal computing and, certainly, that would seem to follow all recent trends. Since the 1980s, technology has become smaller and smaller and, so, the idea of having all your contacts and communication ability stuck to your body is an obvious next move. Whether it be Google Glasses, the Pebble or the Smart Shirt, all of these items will need to share a number of common principles if they are to be a success and understanding these will be key to understanding this hardware trend.
They all solve a recurring problem
Basically, wearable technology has to be useful. Nobody wants a piece of technology weighing down their wrist or wrapped around their face unless there is a good reason for it. Practicality is everything.
Does not take the wearer out of the world
Many people's first reactions to Google Glasses was appalled shock, with the assumption that any wearer would, essentially, be living inside a computer, never actually interacting with the world around them. In reality, for wearable technology to be a success, it needs to help the wearer interact with the world as opposed to distracting them from it.
Focus on the person
Any truly popular wearable technology will have to be human-centric, not machine-focused. Rather than hardware companies taking a piece of technology and thinking ‘how can we get people to use this?' it must begin with a human requirement that makes researchers think ‘how can technology address this?'
Solve more problems than it creates
Of course, there are going to be some issues with wearable technologies. Google Glasses poses the obvious one: does anybody with perfect vision really want to wear glasses? The answer is only positive if the glasses bring more advantages to the table than disadvantages.
Take advantage of existing behaviour
What it will all come down to is how much these devices feel like natural extensions of normal human behaviour as opposed to catalysts for new behaviour. In reality, they should not change the wearer's behaviour much at all, just make doing the things they already do either easier or more enjoyable.
Surprising facts about technology  

If you feel your eyes getting heavy next time you are staring at the computer monitor then that's because they are being put under more than twice the strain as usual. You blink roughly 7 times a minute while working on a laptop, PC or tablet, while the normal rate is 20 blinks per minute.
If your fingers are getting tired at the same time, that's probably because your typing. The average typist's fingers travel 12.6 miles every day.
We all know Apple like to make the inside of their hardware as beautiful as possible. If you crack open the original Macintosh, released in 1982, you will find 47 autographs from the Mac division of the company.
The first ever computer mouse was made from wood by Doug Engelbert all the way back in 1962.
We all know the web is getting bigger and bigger, but did you know that more than one million domain names are registered every single month.
The first ever banner ad was placed in 1994. Now over 5.3 trillion of these ads were placed online in the US alone last year. Typically, an internet user will see about 1,707 of these ads every month, though click through rates stand at just 0.1%. Plus, it's only a few people doing the clicking: 85% of all banner clicks are done by the same 8% of internet users. It's also worth noting that banner ads don't really get much sympathy, as just 15% of people trust them to be advertising what they claim to be advertising.
Technology is now a huge part of how human relationships both begin and end. 40 million of the 50 million single people in the United States have tried online dating at some point, while one in eight of all the marriages that began last year began online.
While you might assume the popular QWERTY keyboard is the most efficient way to type, the DVORAK keyboard has proven to be twenty times quicker on average. This is due to the fact that QWERTY was designed with typewriters in mind, while the DVORAK model was meant for the modern, computer based typist.

Technology and football  
Football has been the most universally appreciated spectator sport on the planet for some time, with World Cup finals commanding audiences of billions. So naturally, when it comes to attempting to put together a winning team, coaches and managers will go to various lengths. Utilising technology is one aspect that is becoming increasingly popular.
For the back room staff to begin improving their players' performances, what they first need to do is understand what they actually do during the course of any 90-minute game. Previously, a lot of the choices concerning strategies and tactics were made in real time. We've all seen images of coaches furiously scribbling into notebooks in their dugouts, analyzing aspects of fraught matches as they unfold. Much of what would then be suggested to players, either at half-time, or at subsequent training sessions, would be down to ‘gut instinct'. However, advancements in technology have allowed science to be applied to the process in ways that even World Cup-winning managers could only have dreamt of.
Many of the stadia of premier league sides throughout the world are fitted with sophisticated cameras. These unnoticed mechanical eyes dutifully record exactly what is going on, tracking every kick of the ball, every cross, every goalkeeping save, every dead-ball situation. Once these images are subsequently pored over, they can provide a wealth of information about how much jogging, sprinting - or just hanging around watching play unfold elsewhere – is carried out by the 22 players on the field.
Some consistent pictures emerge from these camera studies. On average, players cover between 10 and 12 kilometers in a 90-minute encounter. Sprinting make up considerably less time than ‘low intensity' activity, such as jogging, or walking. Nevertheless, the former are disproportionately more important attributes to perfect, because the mark the key points during any game. Frenetic penalty box activity is defined by strikers rushing in to meet crosses, or defenders having to back-track furiously after their own side's attack has broken down and they are facing a counter attack.
Film retrieved from this real-time coverage can also paint a picture of player skill sets, allowing coaching staff to decide whether certain players are being played out of their ideal positions. Or perhaps, where techniques need brushed-up.
Technology is also applied to training sessions. Global positioning systems and heart monitoring apparatus are being increasingly used to maintain healthy team members. The heart rate can reveal how bodies are responding to the bursts of action that occur during games. All this activity helps the coaching staff to gauge if training sessions are perhaps being too demanding for players facing strenuous games in a matter of days. But for everyone involved in running a successful premiership side, from the managerial team, to coaches, to physiotherapists, to behavioural neuroscientists, being able to analyze activity down to the level of players' heartbeats is an example of how technology is working to improve sport.
How to stay secure when online  
Whether you run a large business or are a personal user, securing your hardware and online platforms should be a huge priority. In an age where access to somebody's online profile could lead to major identity theft, it is of paramount performance that you take this issue seriously. Here are a few tips on adding muscle to the safety of your online data.
Take your password seriously
We have all heard the advice regarding passwords: it should include letters and numbers, it should not contain any clear English words, it should be longer than 6 characters and it should be different for every single one of your online profiles. The big question is how do you satisfy all of those criteria and still come up with passwords that you can remember every time you log on to a system.
One good tip is to think of a famous phrase (say, your favourite line from a movie) and reduce it to the first letter of each word before adding a couple of memorable numbers at the end (perhaps a loved one's birthday). This will make no sense as a sentence but will be easy to remember for you.
Look out for dodgy online shops
While most online sales platforms are trustworthy, there are plenty that are not. Spotting a dodgy shop takes a bit of attention but there are some tell-tale signs for which you should look out. Any site that only accepts cash, cheque or virtual payments are almost certainly not to be trusted. You are much safer paying by credit card.
Also, look for a physical address and contact details for those that run the site.
Avoid bogus security companies
Be wary of any ‘security expert' that contacts you unsolicited to tell you have a virus on your computer. In reality, this will be a company asking you to pay them a fee to eliminate a virus you do not have. They are working off a list and, somehow, you have made it on. Ignore them completely and do not download anything that they have to offer.
Starting a new business? Here's some technol...  
Find out what you need
The first step when you open up a new company and start sourcing technology is to find out what you need. Simple, right? Not always. Technology changes rapidly and the needs of your company can change not just week to week but day to day. Get more than one expert opinion on the type and quality of hardware and software required to get you off the ground. Plus, do not try to cut corners when it comes to buying the technology either. It pays to invest in the top of the line; it costs to pick up the cheapest kit.
Pay attention to your website
The days of a basic website with a phone number, a few images and a contact us page are dead and gone. Nowadays, your website will be as crucial as point of contact as your main location. Ensure that it is visually impressive, easy to navigate, informative, friendly and that is comes with an effective data capture form. Invest in a web-team if you don't have the ability to do it yourself.
Take advantage of the cloud
Whether you like it or not, you are about to open a business in the era of Big Data. 90% of the world's data was created in the last 10 years and this figure will be bigger 10 years from now. You simply have to have all the tools you possibly can get to control and use this data to your advantage. Do not drown in a sea of information. Utilise cloud storage to back up all that crucial company info.
Get mobile
These days, every customer expects any product or service they buy to be flexible and easy to use. Mobile working is a big part of how you can provide it. To keep up with the pace, kit your workforce with tablets and Smartphones. This way everybody stays in the data loop at all times.
Security, security, security
Is there anything more important these days then the safety of your information? Adopt a strong password policy throughout your whole workforce, ensure your information is backed up and install the most airtight security solutions to your hardware.
Would space elevators work?  

The prospect of devices that would enable passengers to be disassembled into atoms, transmitted through space, and then reassembled at the other end, has often been broached in science fiction. Think of all those classic Star Trek episodes, where Captain Kirk, requiring to escape the clutches of sundry anti-social aliens, flips open his mobile device to utter the well-worn phrase: ‘Beam us up, Scotty!' Sadly, the key word in that opening description is ‘fiction'. However, rapidly moving bodies from a planet surface into positions high up in the atmosphere is not necessarily a complete fantasy. Welcome to the concept of the space elevator.
Firstly, what exactly are we talking about when we use the phrase space elevator? This would be a device made up of a tether, anchored on the ground, that would reach 100,000 kilometers up into space. This means of transport would provide safe and inexpensive access to an orbital point, as often as was deemed necessary. The overall concept was recently discussed in a report conducted by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and entitled: ‘Space elevators: an assessment of the technological feasibility and the way forward'.
The findings of the report make for interesting reading. In the first place, the experts concluded that, theoretically, a space elevator was viable, on the understanding that the risks could be overcome with the likelihood of technological advances as the century progresses. A degree of international co-operation would also need to be applied, resulting in a robust administrative infrastructure being built alongside the technical blueprint.
The tether that would deliver electronic vehicles up into the atmosphere would need to meet various economic criteria. The actual vehicles themselves – described as climbers in the report – would travel up and down at the speed of high-speed trains. The difficulty of maintaining a degree of tautness in the tether would be accomplished by the very rotation of the Earth.
One positive aspect of this technology is that the concept itself is nothing new. As long ago as 1895 the Russian space scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky suggested building a free-standing tower, reaching from the planet's surface to the height of ‘geostationary orbit', at 35,800 kilometers. His prototype vision has been fine-tuned subsequently, to varying degrees, by writers, engineers and scientific researchers. But the recent study marks a considerable shift it the thinking behind space elevators, from the theoretical to the practical.
According to the President of the IAA, Gopalan Madhavan Nair: ‘no doubt all the space agencies of the world will welcome such a definitive study that investigates new ways of transportation with major changes associated with inexpensive routine access to geostationary earth orbit and beyond'.

Robot technology – advances on the inside  
While robots continue to be developed in terms of their appearance, growing ever more compact, the real advances are being made ‘under the bonnet'. The major technological breakthroughs in recent years have been down to innovations in telecommunication, electronic devices, computing and, of course, software.
The ability of designers to come up with ever more inventive solutions to reduce processor size had made mobile computing possible. This has also increased what we might consider the ‘brain capability' of robots. Other advances that are having a considerable impact on robotics include the transformation of robots to ‘wireless devices'. In other words, wireless communication protocol can make robots susceptible to receiving information from the internet.
While this has had a revolutionary impact on the web in general, it has really advanced the possibilities for what future robots will be able to do. Internet technologies will create intelligent devices. A whole new generation of embedded systems will be made available for use in complex applications. Robots will start using internet-plugged devices, greatly increasing their scope for activities.
A century from now, the area of science where there is the greatest potential for ‘intelligent', web-programmable robots to be used to their full advantage will be in hazardous environments. We can see very rudimentary version of these machine at the moment, trundling across the desert landscapes on Mars to send geological analyses back to base. Tele-operated robots will be increasingly deployed in outer space – and when the time comes to explore other planets and their satellites in our solar system, they will be indispensible.
As systems have evolved, the decision-making and reasoning that is possible has increased considerably. Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction plots, but is being built into state-of-the-art technologies. The word robot itself is often being superseded by terms such as ‘intelligent decision making units', or at the very least ‘intelligent robots'. This reflects the fundamental evolution of robots, from pure machines – albeit pre-programmable and with a degree of built-in tailoring – to advanced computer-driven units capable of reacting to situations and altering their behavior accordingly. These advances are particularly noticeable in areas such as voice recognition, or image processing. All this enables robots (to keep with the more simplistic terms for convenience) much more ‘human-like' in their communication interface with humans.
Robots will continue to explore the world outside the laboratory. Rather than being purely research tools, they will be used as museum guides, or information desk staff.
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