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 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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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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The Future of the Mobile App and You

One of the fastest growing industries of recent times is undoubtedly the app industry. Whether it’s helping us communicate with greater ease, play online games with added convenience, or even shop for the latest products with increased choice, there have been few more impressive start-ups in recent years than in the app domain.

Certain Development Trends

However, despite some impressive independent releases, it’s become clear that there are certain developing trends that have sidelined the ability of new developers to increase their position in the rankings of various app stores.

In particular, it’s the growing role of television advertising that’s becoming critical to the success of a mobile app. A recent VAB study found that there is a 77% correlation between commercials and traffic for mobile apps, and as mainstream exposure is incredibly important for any fledgling developer, it’s become clear how important a large marketing budget has become for any new release.

What’s New In Gaming

The gaming world is one of the most lucrative mobile app areas, and already there’s been a string of high-profile releases like Mobile Strike that have used glossy television advertising campaigns and celebrities to ensure that their strategic action game is kept high in the app store rankings.Such moves go in the face of independent success stories like Angry Birds that momentarily gave many fledgling companies hope that they could achieve overnight success thanks to the instant global accessibility of their gaming app products.

Mobile Platforms

Another increasingly important factor is how apps integrate into different mobile platforms. For example, there is still an ongoing spat between Snapchat and Microsoft that has meant that this popular messaging app is unavailable for Windows Phone users.

Whereas other developers such as mrsmithcasino.co.uk have ensured that their mobile-friendly games of roulette, poker and slots are able to be played across a range of platforms and it’s this cross-platform appeal that’s becoming integral to any mobile app project.

But in the face of these impressive developments, there have been many who have stated that we could soon be entering the post-app era.Alongside reports that mobile app usage is down on a global level, there’s the fact that people commonly abandon their recently downloaded app after just one use that not only raises concerns that app development could be an unsustainable business model, but also that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller developers to get a toehold in this increasingly competitive domain.

Businessman pressing colorful mobile app icons with bokeh background

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Tesla to Enable Full Self-Driving Features in August – Elon Musk

Transportation Around the world

It appears that transportation would soon look different after Tesla revealed its intention to enable full self-driving features in August. The move is part of the company’s long-term plans to make autonomous vehicles an essential part of the transport network. This, it believes will increase safety and reduce automotive fatalities, as the human element is eliminated.

Tesla chief executive, Elon Musk disclosed that the company would enable full self-driving features on all-electric cars to help the system understand lane merging and travel even further. Mr. Musk said that the latest update would be rolled out as part of the long-awaited Tesla Version Nine.

Enlarging the Coast

Until now, Tesla’s software releases were entirely focused on maximizing efficiency by conveying people or items to their destinations in the safest way possible. The new software is quite a change from that order, as it prioritizes full-driving features.

Musk confirmed this saying, “To date, autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.”

Tesla maintains that the full self-driving functionality will help ensure “substantially greater” safety than a human driver. That is because unlike human drivers, computers won’t get distracted, fatigued, or drunk. An article on the website of The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School revealed that human error is a significant contributor to around 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes.

In line with this, Tesla hopes that the yet-to-be-released software will help to overcome these challenges. Should the update roll out as planned, it will significantly boost the company’s efforts to make self-driving vehicles a reality.

Operation and Performance

Tesla’s self-driving system can conduct both short and long distance trips without the input of the individual in the driver’s seat. All the person in the driver’s seat has to do is give the vehicle an address and off they go. If the driver doesn’t instruct the car on where to go, the car will look at their calendar and convey them there. In instances where there is nothing on the schedule, the car will assume home as the default destination and take them there.

The impact of Tesla’s innovation will extend beyond self-driving features and safety, as tweets from Mr. Musk indicate that the Tesla Roadster – the organization’s most expensive electric vehicle yet – would be fitted with an improved top speed that should see it eclipse gas cars regarding performance. The company’s CEO hinted that the Roadster could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.9 seconds, which should see it become the quickest production car in the world.

 

Elon Musk, it seems, never misses an opportunity to do something beautiful.

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Financial Technology in Colleges Today, What Students Think

 

Advances in Automation and Technology

Advances in computing, automation, and communication have shifted focus from traditional methods to the use of technology in payments, clearing, trading, and regulatory compliance. This has led to Financial technology (often referred to as Fintech) programs taking center stage in colleges as schools attempt to play an integral part in the fintech revolution by training students for jobs in today’s fast-growing financial technology industry.

These courses are designed to enable students to advance their knowledge in critical aspects of technology such as machine learning, data analytics, and blockchain technology, among others. FinTech programs aim to improve college financial literacy by making it possible for students to gain an understanding of various technologies and obtain practical experience working with them.

What is Financial Technology?

Financial Technology essentially refers to any technological invention in financial services. Individuals who are involved in Financial Technology typically develop new technologies to disrupt traditional financial markets.

These include several innovations that facilitate online transactions, such as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, mobile banking applications like Venmo, and online payment solutions such as PayPal and Skrill.

Fintech also comprises tech-based financial services such as crowdfunding systems, automated financial planning, peer-to-peer lending marketplaces, as well as robo wealth managers such as Betterment.

Students Clamor

The use of digital technology is fast becoming the norm, leading to a revolution that is rapidly transforming the financial industry. This has led to calls by students for financial technology courses to be introduced in colleges. This, they believe, will enable them to understand the complexity of the payment infrastructure and be acquainted with critical payment instruments and how they function, among others.

A good example of students’ interest in innovation can be seen in the case of New York University (NYU) where the fintech undergraduate course attracted enrollment from twice as many students as expected.

Students demand, coupled with the far-reaching disruption in the financial industry has the schools themselves making conscientious efforts to teach students how to master financial technology.

Institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management, Columbia University’s business school, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, etc. have all adopted fintech programs in their curriculum.

Fintech in Colleges: Effectiveness and Challenges

So far, fintech courses have proven to be highly effective as colleges scramble to bring together leading academics to educate students on the impact of technology on business, finance, and society. Various innovative research has been conducted and new courses introduced, all in a bid to develop the next generation of fintech experts and re-educate students in new financial technologies.

In spite of the opportunities, however, schools and students face challenges in their attempt to venture into this new area of research. Students who are interested in specializing in fintech may be limited by the lack of textbooks and other teaching materials on the subject. Similarly, most professors have limited knowledge of fintech.

Nonetheless, scholars hope to construct school curriculum and develop real-life cases that will enable students to become knowledgeable enough to make inventions of their own. For now, it looks like fintech finally has its place in academia, which makes for exciting times ahead.

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Best of the Best: Google’s Newest Projects

Google and Technology

Google’s impact on the technology industry knows no bounds. The multinational technology company is setting new trends that will impact and shape the future of the internet, computing, and automation. While its position at the top of the technology world cannot be disputed, the California-based tech giant continues to work to ensure that it remains streets ahead of the market by taking a more prominent role by embarking on new projects that are too important to ignore.

Here are some of the Google projects you should know about:
  1. Self-Driving Cars

Google is out to ensure that people get to their destinations safely. Alphabet Inc.’s (Google’s parent company) autonomous car project, Waymo, isn’t exactly new but continues to lead the way regarding self-driving car technology. The project is in line with company’s drive to make traffic safe and to enhance traffic and fuel efficiency. Since the cars are automated, it is expected that there will be fewer accidents, as the human element is eliminated. The vehicles will also help improve fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

  1. AI for Everyone

Google continues to push the boundaries and set new standards in the artificial intelligence world. To provide consumers with innovative solutions that help them keep ahead of their time, the tech giant is making the voice-activated Google Assistant more conversational and visible. The feature, called Continued Conversation, has been improved to sound more natural and enable users to have a conversation with it. Google declared that the updated Assistant knows when a user is talking to it and can respond accordingly.

Further, Google has updated its artificial intelligence to make the Assistant sound less like a robot. Six new voices have been added to the system, including John Legend’s, to make it sound more natural. A “Pretty Please” functionality has also been equipped to teach kids how to treat others with decorum and respect. Meanwhile, Duplex, a robocall feature for the Google Assistant is still under development. The system is designed to enable the Assistant to call and talk to humans to request for basic things such as restaurant reservations, hair appointment, etc.

  1. Google Smart Jeans (Project Jacquard)

Wearable technology keeps expanding thanks in part to Google’s continual ability to reinvent itself and push beyond the boundaries of what’s possible in the technology world. The project, which was announced some years ago, offers tech fabric in the form of a smart jacket thanks to a collaboration with Levi Straus.

Project Jacquard is built to hand cyclists more control over their mobile experience. Users can connect to several services including maps and music directly from the Commuter Jacket sleeve. This means that they can get directions, reject phone calls, change music, or view nearby places without pulling their phone from their pocket. The feature can also read messages aloud to allow you to focus on what you are doing.

 

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