Amazon Applies for Patent Protection for Its Real-Time Accent Translator

 

Amazon Audio System

Seattle-based American e-commerce and cloud computing company, Amazon has filed for a patent for its new audio system which detects and translates accents in real time, according to a Techcrunch report. The application tries to make accents easier to understand by adjusting a speaker’s voice to be similar to a listener’s accent.

If the innovation gets approved and is released in product form, it will make Amazon only one of several tech giants to introduce such functionality. The likes of Microsoft and Google have added such features to Skype and Google Translate respectively. Google’s Pixel Buds earphones also support the feature.

The Techcrunch report states that Amazon’s new program will be based on machine learning or aspects of machines. The machine learning methods involve individuals with a specific accent training different machines on speech for many hours. It is also believed that Amazon’s virtual assistant, the Amazon Alexa, with its global presence, will make the translation process faster and easier, thanks to a torrent of audio samples collected from smart devices like the Amazon Echo.

Amazon uses phone numbers, location data, as well as previous correspondence to identify the right accent to use. The application requires only a few words alongside previous accent data to detect how a user is likely to be speaking correctly. The speaker can also pick their accent manually.

An App Potentially Adaptable to Many Uses

If it ends up in a product form, Amazon’s real-time accent translator will have many applications. Users who travel far and wide and those who conduct international businesses could genuinely appreciate its ability to eliminate the accent barrier on the international scene.

Also, those who contact call center agents frequently will know how difficult it can be to understand some accents even if you speak the same language. The app will smoothen conversation, making it easier for a listener to understand what a call center agent is saying and vice versa.

A Dominant Player

The real-time accent translator patent signals Amazon’s intent to continue to expand its position in a market it already dominates. New data from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) show that Amazon has captured a greater share (70%) of the US smart speaker market, which in itself is experiencing strong growth.

Google comes a distant second with 24 percent market share thanks to its Google Home device. Apple’s Homepod ranks third with just 6% of the smart speaker market. There’s no denying that Amazon’s two-year head start gave it a helping hand. With competitors still playing catch up, however, the real-time accent translator may help the e-commerce giant to establish itself in the market further if released.

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How Hard Is It to Get a Business Loan?

Small Business Loans

While getting a small business loan may not be easy, the fact is, small business loans are not as difficult to qualify for if you get the facts straight. It just takes knowing where and how to look. With the right tools in hand, most small businesses can find the money they need, but there are some things you need to know first. Whether you are an entrepreneur seeking money for a startup or a business that’s hit a rocky patch, there is money out there waiting to be borrowed, you just need to know how to find it. So then, how hard is it to get a business loan? It can be easier than you think. Consider the following.

Leave History in the Past Where It Belongs

A great number of business owners are reluctant to apply for business loans because historically any business with less than perfect credit was in danger of being denied. That further endangered their credit score because every time your credit score was searched by a creditor, you’d take what is known as a soft hit (soft inquiry). No, one or two soft hits won’t affect your credit much, but repeated soft hits will indicate to a prospective lender that something is wrong, and they may summarily deny you credit. However, that’s the past and let’s leave it where it belongs.

New Trends in Lending

Today’s lenders have much broader qualifying criteria, and this is why getting a small business loan may not be as tricky as you had been led to believe. Some lenders don’t even look at your credit score, believe it or not, because there are other things they are much more interested in. Your historical record of sales volume, for example, could be a major factor to some lenders. Perhaps your business model could be a significant factor for startups. Remember, like insurance, lenders consider risk before forking out the cash. Also, there are new types of loans which were not available only a decade or two ago. Invoice factoring is one such loan that is becoming much more prominent in recent years.

The Key to Finding the Right Lender

Unfortunately, a huge part of the problem is the amount of time it takes you to find the lender that has a loan based on your needs and who are willing to lend under your business’s conditions. Every application you make not only takes up the valuable time you could be spending working your company, but it also, as you remember, puts a soft hit on your credit report. Today there are loan search engines like that on https://www.lending-express.com that will match your needs with an assortment of lenders meeting your criteria. You can then choose to apply to one or all of them, but the footwork is done for you so that you can go on about the business of making money. That’s what you are in business for after all, isn’t it?

The key takeaway here is that there are lenders out there that will willingly take a chance on your business venture and while each lender sets its own standards, that loan may be easier to find than you think. Even so, do it the smart way. Begin by using a loan-matching platform that will put you in touch with at least a few lenders who may take the risk. One final point to remember is that you never want to pay for this service. Like the company mentioned above, no fee should be attached to the borrower. Let the lender handle that and you are good to go. Let them pay the commission! That loan is waiting, so go for it!

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Apple and Chinese Telecom Firms to Combat Spam with Machine Learning

Security Breaches in China

In an effort to fight spam, attempted security breaches, and protect their Chinese customers, Apple will employ sophisticated algorithms based on advances in the field of machine learning. The California-based tech giant is looking to enlist the help of Chinese telecom operators to identify messages by source, presumably. “We are in touch with telco companies to see what additional steps could be taken to reduce this inconvenience,” Reuters quoted an Apple spokesperson as saying.

Apple plans to use machine learning to determine whether a message is spam or not, cites a report from Reuters. The tools, which are being developed will also help bar fraudulent accounts from sending spam messages. An Apple spokesperson was quoted as saying, “We are currently working on additional ways to further reduce it, including more advanced machine learning models to identify it and more tools to block fraudulent accounts.”

The Crux of the Matter

Apple was forced to act when the official state broadcaster, worried by the growing volume of spam messages Apple users were receiving through the messaging app and in an attempt to protect citizens who are most vulnerable, accused the American multinational corporation of allowing gambling apps on their devices – gambling is illegal in China.

The allegation forced the US manufacturer to take more effective action against unsolicited messages, which potentially cheats people out of their money, lowers consumer confidence in online commerce, and threaten the digital economy.

The issue of spam and unsolicited calls is a common problem in China, where individuals can get phone numbers from black markets. So, the Apple situation isn’t an isolated one. In fact, spam problem is so rife in China that a Spam Laws content claimed spam grows faster than the Chinese population.

On its part, the Chinese government is making efforts to curb spam through an organization created explicitly for this purpose, the “China Anti-spam Alliance.”

Undefined Engagement Objectives

Apple partnering with Chinese telecom operators is a step in the right direction. However, it is not yet clear what possible role the telecom companies could play with regard to fighting spam, or how they could help the tech giant, bearing in mind that Apple’s native messenger, iMessage uses the manufacturer’s servers and all data communication between end users is encrypted with a secure encryption algorithm.

As mentioned, they would likely be asked to provide the tech giant with information regarding the identity of spammers to enable Apple to block the messages from source using advanced machine learning algorithms.

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How to Stay in Top Health at Work

Health is the New Wealth

The stress and challenges of the workplace can take a toll on your physical and mental health if you fail to take necessary precautions. As such, it is recommended that employers and employees make conscious and continuous efforts to safeguard their health at their place of work.

After all, your health is your most precious gift. So it is only reasonable that you make it your duty to love, cherish, and keep it from harm. To help you achieve your health goals, we have identified some tips that will help your care for your health and remain in tip-top shape at work.

  1. Eat Healthily

When you are busy with work, it can be easy to consume the foods you know aren’t good for you. From junks to healthy but high-calorie foods that can make you gain weight, the workplace can be full of temptations. So without discipline, the office can derail your diet. One of the principles of eating right at work is to limit the consumption of junk foods.

Eat something filling and nutritious for breakfast. This will keep you satisfied for long. For lunch, you can have fruits and salads. Avoid overeating as well as unhealthy, oily foods. Nuts and smoothies are other healthy food options you may want to consider. Also, drink lots of water and sugar-free fluids.

Overall, a well-balanced diet will improve your general sense of wellbeing. So, it is often recommended that you consume foods that are full of veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.

  1. Pay close attention to your posture

Make a habit of holding the right posture while seating. Maintaining a good position will help you avoid health complications such as back pain, a pressure inside the chest, slipped disc, etc. It is also important that you avoid sitting in one place for too long. Take a break every hour to stretch or walk.

  1. Avoid staring at the computer screen for too long

Staring at the computer for too long can cause eye strain, dry eyes, headache, blurry vision, among other health issues. Experts recommend looking away from the computer screen for 20 seconds every twenty minutes. Doing so will help relax the muscle in your eye.

  1. Ensure your workstation is clean at all times

Keeping your environment clean can help you avoid workplace injuries and reduce the spread of germs. Cleaning your office will lower the level of the allergens that trigger asthma. It is also recommended to properly ventilate your work environment to increase the airflow within it. Doing so will help circulate clean air, which will in turn help reduce infection rates.

  1. Take active steps to manage and reduce your stress levels

Exercise as often as possible; it will relax your body, mind and improve your mood. Stretch, eat right, get a good night sleep, as well as a massage from time to time to relax your muscles. Also, you should make time for hobbies to help you disconnect from work.

Your health is a gift you must care for if your care for yourself, work, and family. Taking care of your physical and mental health will enable you to be more productive at work, and in home life

 

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How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Will Impact Cyber Security

AI Security and Intelligence Services

The efforts of security and intelligence services to counter threats has led experts to consider using new concepts that are fast becoming part of our daily life such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as a defense to boost skills for countering cyber-attack.

Industry experts have always believed that AI will have a growing impact on cybersecurity technology thanks to its potential to improve threat detection. Believe however turned to reality when Alphabet launched a cybersecurity intelligence system designed to fight crime on a global scale back in January. If one ever needed proof of how AI-based solutions will improve existing technologies and drive greater efficacy and efficiency in the war against cybersecurity, Chronicle is it. Before we proceed to discuss their impact on cybersecurity, it is essential to first understand, from a technical standpoint, what is meant by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence is an aspect of computer science that gives prominence to the creation of applications that engage in tasks that require mental processes of a high level such as memory organization, perceptual learning, and critical thinking.

In other words, artificial intelligence borders on the development of machines that work and react like humans by performing activities such as problem-solving, learning, planning, and speech recognition, among others.

What is Machine Learning?

Kris Lahiri, co-founder and chief security officer of Egnyte, in an article published on Forbes, defined machine learning (ML) as “a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) that refers to technologies that enable computers to learn and adapt through experience.”

How Will AI and ML Impact Cybersecurity?

With technologies advancing very quickly, the sophistication of hackers is fast emerging as a threat to internet security. Cybercriminals continue to develop new attack strategies meant to avoid existing security systems. This makes organizations act defensively rather than proactively. The difficulty in knowing precisely what attackers are planning makes it hard to take preventive measures.

As the level of sophistication across the entire global threat landscape continues to increase rapidly, security outfits must use advanced tools to get ahead of the threats before they do any damage. Given their sophistication and intelligence, it is believed that the use of AI and machine learning tools will enable companies to detect, investigate and remediate breaches faster.

This is because AI allows organizations to automate complex processes for detecting attacks and responding to breaches. And since AI and ML work hand-in-hand, AI can leverage ML capabilities to enhance its abilities and evolve. In this manner, AI security solutions powered by ML can rely on ML use data from previous attacks to react to newer and similar risks.

Tech professionals believe that the efficacy of this approach rests on the fact that hackers build on old threats. Therefore, by deploying AI and ML, new dangers can be detected more quickly and dealt with before they do any harm.

 

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Social media marketing: Six trends to keep your eyes on

Social Media is Marketing the Future

Social media marketing is a powerful way for businesses of all sizes to reach prospects and customers. Your customers are already interacting with brands through social media, and if you are not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, you’re missing out! Great marketing on social media can bring remarkable success to your business, creating devoted brand advocates and even driving leads and sales.

Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks to achieve your marketing and branding goals. Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and other content that drives audience’s engagement. Social media marketing can help with many goals, such as increasing website traffic, building conversions, raising brand awareness, creating a brand identity and positive brand association and improving communication and interaction with key audiences. As social media marketing plays a vital role, following are the six trends to keep your eyes on:

 

Instagram has over 700 million monthly active users, less competition and a more engaged audience than other social media giants like Facebook or Twitter. This presents businesses with an opportunity to market their products to a more targeted and interested audience without spending an enormous amount of money on paid advertising. Instagram stories have a slideshow format and are only live for 24-hours. Instagram stories offer social marketers a great opportunity to reach a higher number of people by taking advantage of one of the fastest-growing social networks.

 

With over 313 million monthly active users and a young demographic to boot, Twitter is a great platform for most marketers. Starting up a Twitter page for your company is easy. Anyone can come up with a Twitter handle, upload their profile photo, fill out their bio and send out their first Tweet. However, growing your Twitter account and turning it into an actual tool that generates leads and builds up your brand is not that simple. Some of the main ways, businesses use Twitter include sharing information and content, driving engagement for promotional activities, interacting with consumers, networking, branding and reputation management.

 

A Chatbot is a program that mimics human interaction. It automatically chats with internet users and gives a series of pre-prepared answers according to what they ask. It is an interactive FAQ tool that becomes more and more useful as you add more and more questions and answers to it. User engagement drives conversions. Chatbots can lead users on an Easter egg hunt or chat about the sports team they hate. The limit is up to our imagination.

 

Live chat is a must-have tool for your business. The biggest live chat benefits include the increase in sales, efficiency, and improvement in customer service and loyalty, customer convenience, proactive outreach; reduce expenses, faster solution to problems, competitive advantages, and reports and analytics.

 

They got to make themselves known by a wide public, bringing about a confrontation that led to a better definition of their roles. While VR has proven to be the evolution of gaming, AR has found its way in communication and marketing. With the new AR features on the iPhone X (and 8), you can expect a lot more AR related content being generated, and consumed, in 2018.

 

Voice search queries will push SEOs to focus on even longer long-tail keywords and create content specific to the needs of spoken searches.

To know more about the brand marketing, click here. I hope it helps. Stay safe!

 

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Useful Tips on How to Thrive as a Rideshare Driver

The New Way to Get Around and Make Money

We live in a world where cars are an important mode of transportation for many. A great majority of individuals own cars but most of them would rather take a cab than drive in our ever-busy roads. So, if you love driving, you could really make some good money being a rideshare driver for celebrated companies like Uber and Lyft.

Uber and Lyft are quickly gaining popularity and people are no longer interested in the traditional taxi companies. This is because Uber and Lyft are giving customers excellent services at affordable rates. In addition to this, customers these days are sure that no matter what time of day or night, they can grab an Uber in a matter of minutes.

It’s clear as day that customers across the globe are happy and satisfied with the services they get from Uber and Lyft. So, let’s turn the page and focus on the drivers who make these journeys a success. Most people are asking for tips on HOW TO BECOME A RIDESHARE DRIVER .Well, here are a few basic requirements that you need to fulfill for you to be a rideshare driver.

  • Pass a driver’s test – This goes without saying; for you to be a rideshare driver, you must be a licensed driver. One of the most important things that will give you a good start will be a valid driving license. In addition to this, for you to become a Lyft or Uber driver, you must be at least 21 years of age and have a clean record. The two companies are well respected across the globe; so if you have any cases of traffic rules violation like a DUI, or other criminal offences, you might not pass your driver’s test.
  • Make sure the condition of your car is good – There are certain specifications that a rideshare car should meet. For example, your car should have 4 perfectly working doors, clean and functional seatbelts, windows that are easy to roll up and down and a working A/C. All the car lights, the engine, the body, the horns, you name it… they should all be in perfect condition. And mind you these are just but a few of the requirements; so take time to research on the issue and make sure that your car meets the set standards.
  • Send in an application for the job –It is easy to apply for a job as a Lyft or Uber driver. Just download the app on your smartphone. Fill in all the required information including your full name, physical address, email address, the city you are living in and your phone contacts. Using your information, the company will run a background check on you and if you are fit for the job, then you will be called in for a welcome ride.

It’s simple as that. Before you know it, you will be cruising around the city and making money.

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How Cryptocurrencies Will Change the World

 

Digital Currencies are Changing the World of Finance

Cryptocurrencies have been making waves ever since they were introduced to members of the online trading community. Digital currencies aren’t just a promise; they are currently being applied to various uses. Along with blockchain technology, they continue to take businesses to areas that were previously untapped. Nowadays, it’s hard to go a single day without the mention of cryptocurrency in the news. Goes to tell just how far they have come in a very short while.

What Are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrency refers to electronic money that is used in online transactions. This money is stored in electronic wallets or computer files. Some common cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, etc. The blockchain technology is used in transferring and monitoring cryptocurrency transactions.

How Will Cryptocurrencies Change the World?

Much has been said about how cryptocurrency will revolutionize future payments, services, businesses, and by so doing, change the world. Some of these much talked about changes include:

  • Strengthen e-commerce: It appears that more and more people now shop online most of the time. Cryptocurrency gives individuals even more reasons to become used to the convenience of online shopping, as it mitigates the risk of fraud for both vendors, sellers, and shoppers and eases consumer concerns regarding the safety of their personal information. It is also expected that cryptocurrency will facilitate online shopping more efficiently than fiat currency since it does not have to observe international rules or comply with trade restrictions.
  • Ease cross-border transactions: Cryptocurrencies keep challenging conventional monetary systems in many regards. One of these areas is money transfers. Digital currencies such as bitcoin are as much of freely convertible money as there can be. More so, their fast execution times and meager transaction cost makes them the ideal resources for cross-border money transfer. It is no wonder currencies like Ripple are taking over with cross-border transactions.
  • Help increase global remittances: Older money transfer firms like MoneyGram and Western Union are not cost-effective. Typically, foreigners are charged a high percentage as commission when they send money to their home country. Asides the high commissions, funds transfers made through money transfer operators like Western Union are not processed on time. Cryptocurrency transfers, on the other hand, are highly cost-effective and occur in real time. Such advantages are expected to enable digital currencies to drive growth in foreign remittances. The fact that users could also process transfers directly from their mobile devices from any location will also help encourage participation.
  • Faster transfers: As already mentioned, cryptocurrency transactions are processed instantly. This means that market participants need not wait for days or weeks for transfers to be confirmed.
  • Beyond these, cryptocurrencies may also help bring stability to unstable fiat currencies, phase out the currency exchange system, give people more control over their own funds, and provide scalability, among others.

 

The Push is on for Cryptocurrencies

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Millennials See Banks Differently from Other Generations

Millennials Are the Fastest Growing Customer Base.

Millennials are the fastest growing customer base. Their number, education, and exposure make them a target for businesses who are looking to woo clients. The story is no different in the banking industry where financial institutions consider them an asset that must be had.

Think about it; it has been predicted that millennials will represent about 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, per Bankingly.com. Millennials also make up a more significant portion of the labor market. They may not be as wealthy as the boomers, but more workforce means more money at their disposal to contribute towards bank deposits. The millennials have it all, it seems. So it makes sense that they are a target for anyone who is looking to generate customers.

However, this generation tends to have different expectations from boomers when it comes to the financial services sector.

Understanding their Reasons and Preferences

It is no secret that consumer taste changes with each passing generation. For millennials, this means a preference for online banking over more traditional financial institutions. After all, they are a generation who practically live on their smartphones. Millennials are tech-savvy and consider their phones the new wallet because they expect digital convenience in all aspects of their lives.

The Bankingly report claims that 71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than go to the bank. Also, around 33% of millennials are of the opinion that they do not need a bank. A further 53 percent of them believe that their banks offer the same products as any other.

This makes millennials more open to switching banks since they don’t see any differences between these financial institutions. Instead of sticking with brick-and-mortar banks, millennials prefer mobile banking. Baby boomers, on the other hand, prefer to stick with older banks due to concerns over the safety of their financial data. Such diverging attitudes create a huge problem for financial institutions.

With the boomers retiring, millennials are expected to fuel future growth for the banking industry through loans, mortgages, retirement accounts, etc. Nonetheless, it appears that banking needs of millennials are influenced by their lifestyles. And this creates uncertainty regarding what the future holds for older banks.

Two Main Reasons Millennials

  • The global financial crisis: The global financial crisis has made millennials skeptical of banks. The 2007 global financial crisis made it hard for older millennials who came of age at that time to secure jobs and pay off student loans. Also, they are educated enough to know that the global financial crisis was due to the greed and fraud that pervaded the banking industry at the time.
  • Millennials expect digital convenience: As mentioned earlier, millennials demand digital services because they seek convenience. The American Bankers Association reports that millennials are three times more likely to open a new account with their phone than in person. This causes them to lean more towards banks that offer digital services than the more traditional ones.
  • Millenials Are Distrustful of the Traditional Banking System World Wide. They Expect The Digital Convenience , Faster Service From Mobile Apps and Tablets For Their Banking Needs

 

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