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How is Blockchain Boom Affecting the Software Industry

The Worldwide Blockchain Spending Guide, published last quarter by IDC, revealed that the use of blockchain will reach $6.6 billion in 2021, up 50% as compared to 2020, according to Intelligence CIO. This study also argues that blockchain will impact the market for ten technologies in servers, hardware, software, IaaS, external storage systems, IT, and business. 

The prominent value chains in the software industry, powered by blockchain, will extend their platforms to their entire ecosystem, reducing costs by 35 percent.  

According to Oracle CTO David Uribe, “We must first understand what blockchain is and how it works, to talk about the evolution of software from blockchain’s impact’. 

Generally, blockchain is linked with cryptocurrencies, in particular Bitcoin and financial transactions. But in terms of technology, blockchain is a distributed journal where daily transactions of various processes are recorded. 

How will the software industry evolve from the impact of blockchain? With more entrepreneurs realizing why businesses should adopt new technologies, it’s crucial to understand how blockchain affects the software sector.  

Source: marconet.com

Enhances Security

Unlike traditional technology, the blockchain prevents any information from being changed by replicating data and distributing it among multiple participants. This makes blockchain a perfect solution for preventing hackers from getting access to any data.

For example, if the information is hacked on a single copy, it will be incompatible with the other documents. As a result, you will be unable to access and change the information throughout the network.

This is one of the characteristics making blockchain popular in the cryptocurrency world. Ideally, when users want to transact Bitcoins or other cryptos, the transaction is controlled and tracked without an intermediary. That’s because every transaction is reflected with the blockchain technology on the network.  

Source: 2h37.com

Builds Resilience

In addition to being secure, blockchain technology is more powerful than most technologies out there.

The Bitcoin network is estimated to have a computing power of 43,000 times more than the 500 supercomputers on earth combined. Due to this, investing in projects linked to blockchain technology is advisable. 

Not only will they provide solutions to problems in the IT industry, but their cryptocurrency value is likely to increase significantly in the future. 

Source: pinterest.com

Boosts Interbank Transactions 

Compared to other technologies, blockchain, also known as chains of a block, guarantees the possibility of reaching high levels of security. That’s why its application is desired in the development of cryptocurrencies and improving interbank transactions.

Today’s banks and credit card providers leverage blockchain technologies like Bitcoin, ether, and dogecoin for payments. Users can also harness the power of blockchain for transaction tracking, information recording, and digital assets. 

If you’re looking to invest in digital assets, note that there are two types. Resources that represent real assets like title deeds to real estate property are digitized for financial security. Then there are digital assets that are created digitally and have a monetary value. To make the most of digital assets, you need to understand their characteristics. Some of the unique qualities of digital assets include ownership, meaning they belong to you entirely. Digital assets are also negotiable, traceable, and cannot be duplicated. 

Source: bankautomationnews.com

Provides Financial Solutions

The impact of blockchain technology on payment solutions has been critical in that it’s being used in financial services to update and create new solutions to tackle industry challenges.

Blockchain is a secure, transparent, and decentralized technology that can solve the biggest challenges in financial services, including fraud, data integrity, and tech integration. It is cheaper than existing technologies as it eliminates overhead costs dedicated to teams hired to confirm authenticity. As a distributed ledger, blockchain enables everyone on the network to confirm transactions effectively and simultaneously. 

During authenticity confirmation, users on the blockchain network monitor who’s transacting, confirm digital contracts, tax transactions, and store information. For instance, if you’re trading cryptocurrency, parties involved in the transaction can identify who’s moving the money. They can also monitor tax payments made for Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies.

So, whether you’re trading cryptos or aspiring to become a trader, it’s wise to understand the taxation process of cryptocurrencies. Since the IRS defines cryptocurrencies as property rather than currency, they are taxable. This means you must pay tax on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple when using them to pay for goods or services. If you own Bitcoin and decide to sell at a high profit, you’ll have to pay capital gain taxes.

Source: spinanalyticsandstrategy.com

Improves Data Integrity and Transparency

Over the decades, data security and transparency have been opposing forces during the software development process. In a common software development process, data transparency interferes with security negatively through high visibility. How data moves between the teams and the entire organization also creates room for security risks, affecting data integrity.

But with blockchain technology, data security and transparency co-exist together. Because creating blockchain software and mobile apps for storing sensitive information is a sure way of keeping data safe. You’ll also set a solid foundation for future software development projects without interfering with data visibility and security for the developers. 

While blockchain technology is still in its infancy stage, it can revolutionize the software industry. Given the blockchain is a decentralized system and unbreakable electronic ledger, it guarantees data security and integrity. This also promotes interbank transactions, improves payment methods, and offers visibility throughout the software development process.

Most importantly, individuals and organizations can leverage blockchain for digital assets and payments using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 

Source: blog,simbachain.com

Final Word

Blockchain technology offers innovation for transparent transaction mechanisms in various industries. The features of this technology enhances security through transparency and traceability of any transaction whether data, assets or financial resources. 

Despite doubts, large corporations (and some governments) started to look into adapting and improving the technology across various application domains. 

There is still much to discover and explore so stay tuned for more Blockchain updates. 

7 Most Popular and Efficient Tools to Help You Understand UI Design

User Interface design or UI design focuses on predicting what users need to do on an app or software. The UI designer then ensures the interface has all the elements that make it easy for users to carry out those actions.

UI design covers how users interact with an app or software interface; e.g., how does the user get from one screen to the next? UI design ensures the user has quick and straightforward access to the content they are looking for.

As a beginner to User Interface design, one essential thing to do is get familiar with the industry’s tools of the trade. These tools are platforms, software, programs or apps to help you achieve your design goals.

We will provide you with a list of seven best tools to help you understand UI design faster and better. We will also let you know about the essential features to look out for when selecting a UI design tool.

7 Best Tools to Help You Understand UI Design

Check out our seven most-loved UI design tools to help you understand and execute your UI designs.

Figma

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Figma is a browser-based platform allowing UI designers to compose and design interfaces at a fast rate. It is helpful for sketching, wireframing, managing design systems, and even prototyping.

Figma allows you to connect the UI elements of your designs effortlessly. You can choose different interactions and animations between frames and it allows you to customize every interaction with simple gestures such as clicking, hovering, and swiping.

With Figma, you can use nested artboards to create flexible and unique UI designs as you wish. In addition, the software allows you to have your users test out your designs and collect their feedback before you move the design to the testing phase.

Figma works well on most browsers such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, etc. 

On the downside, Figma has limited vector tools and no desktop app. But other than that, Figma is a great UI design tool.

Adobe XD

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If you are a big fan of Adobe, then you will love Adobe XD. Adobe XD was launched in 2016, and it has become one of the best UI design tools in the industry; it fulfills the industry’s standards. 

Adobe XD is software that was “made for designers by designers.” You can design your projects like you always imagined. The app allows you to wireframe, animate, collaborate, prototype, and many more, all in one place.

Adobe XD is a vector-based tool that is versatile in that it offers you a host of features to help with the designing process. If you are not so familiar with the Adobe family, the team put together a video tutorial on using Adobe XD, making the app beginner-friendly. 

Sketch

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Sketch is a UI design tool with an intuitive interface and intuitive features. It allows you to stay focused on creating amazing things, ranging from pixel-perfect icons to possibly your next big product.  

Sketch has tools that will help your finished design to shine. Additionally, it is perfect for wireframing and prototyping and allows you to resize your drawings or images without losing any quality or sharpness.

You can customize your workflow to your preference – Sketch provides hundreds of plugins, assistants, and integrations that allow you to do anything you wish, like animating interactions or making your designs accessible.

The Sketch software is available only for MacOS. You get a 30-day free trial, but when you pay for it once and you can use it for as long as you want. 

InVision

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InVision is one of the best digital product design platforms that powers the world’s best user experiences. It allows you to transform your ideas into reality in one unified platform. 

This tool is a powerful design system allowing users to work smarter, faster, and more in sync. You can either decide to design from scratch with a blank canvas or use InVision’s pre-built templates. 

You can link InVision’s Freehand tool to a real-life whiteboard. The freehand tool comes with easy-to-use digital elements that are handy during the design process. This tool is beneficial for prototyping, design system management, and code inspection.

Additionally, this tool allows you to create rich and interactive prototypes –  you can also collect input and provide detailed specifications that will help you keep your builds on track.

Lastly, InVision works well with other design tools and collaborations like Slack, Photoshop, Sketch, etc.

Maze

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Maze is a UI design tool that provides designers with rapid and remote testing. With Maze, you can test prototypes or copies at a fast rate. You can also use it to round up user feedback as it  will help you create better user experiences.  

Maze drastically reduces the amount of time you need to gather user insights. You can instantly act on your results and easily create a maze for any project you have, either usability tests or user surveys.

This tool allows you to test anywhere and at any time. In addition to being able to carry tests easily, Maze allows you to learn UI design quickly. 

If you’re interested in the tool, Maze’s UI design guide walks you through the whole UI design process. It makes the relatively complex process more effortless. 

Maze offers free trials and paid packages.

Flinto

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Flinto is a Mac software that top UI designers worldwide use to create an interactive and animated prototype of their app designs. This tool offers several features that you need to bring your designs to life.

Flinto’s Transition Designer feature allows you to design animated transitions between your screens in the app. Also, you can navigate your prototype using gestures like taps, swipes, scrolls, and even 3D touch.

Another feature of the Flinto is the Behavior Designer. This feature allows the designer to create micro-interactions within your screens. In addition, the app allows you to design with advanced vector drawing tools.

Flinto is easy to learn with its extensive documentation, active community, and over 100 tutorial videos to walk beginners through the process. Lastly, it is a straightforward process to import your designs directly from Sketch and Figma.

Balsamiq

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With Balsamiq, anyone, both professionals and beginners, can design great desktop software. As of 2008, when it was established, the Balsamiq team has had the mission of ridding the world of bad user interfaces. 

Balsamiq Wireframes is one of the fastest and most focused low-fidelity wireframing tools in the UI design industry. It has a user-friendly interface that works quickly and is easy to use.

Even if you are new to wireframing, the build of the Balsamiq design tool makes it easy for you to jump right in and begin with your designs.

With this UI design tool, you can quickly and easily develop structures and layouts for your design. In addition, the drag-and-drop elements of this design tool make life easier for designers to execute their projects.

Balsamiq is available on Windows, MacOS, and the web. Although there is no free version, you can try it for a 30-day free trial. 

How to Choose the Best UI Design Tool

Source: creativeblog.com

The UI tool you decide to use for your project can determine the success or failure. Your interface is what helps users get the most out of your app, website, or software.

It would be best to look out for these tips in choosing a UI design tool for a design project.

Consider the Project at Hand

When deciding on what tool to use, you must consider the project you need the UI design tool for. For instance, you might not be able to use some design tools for a large-scale project. You, therefore, need to use a UI design tool compatible with your project.

Excellent Format

You also need to consider the format of the design tool carefully. How does its result look? Do you like the design? Does it meet your requirements? After answering questions like these, you should decide on your chosen UI design tool. 

Flexible Software

The tool you want to choose must adapt to the operating systems you and your users intend to use. This means whatever operating system is to be used must be compatible with your UI tool.

Good Assistance and Support

Ensure the design tool you decide on provides you with round-the-clock assistance if you need help at any point. For example, the UI tool should walk you through the process in a situation where you have questions.

Openness to Integrations

Remember that, when designing a user interface, using multiple tools is expected. Therefore, the UI tool you choose must work with other tools without losing its efficiency and effectiveness.

Conclusion

Make sure that out of the many tools in the industry, you choose the one that will perfectly match your project’s needs.  

We’ve highlighted ten of the very best to help you understand UI design more effectively.

Sticking to this list of UI design tools is sure to sharpen your design skills. Select your preferred program or software and dive into the wonderful world of UI design.

Digital KYB Solutions – The Significance of Verification In Digital Platforms

Businesses face various types of risks – from internal operations to financial transactions, and also within their collaborations with other companies. For productive and successful business partnerships, as well as the prevention of fraud, digital KYB (Know Your Business) solutions have emerged.

Just like the well-known and widely adopted process of KYC (know your customer), digital solutions provide companies tools for verifying their clients, third-party vendors, and suppliers. It happens that third-party vendors are shell companies that exist only on paper, and collaboration with them takes businesses down.

Digital KYB Solutions – Definition

To avoid unfavorable outcomes in collaborations, companies are now offered business verification solutions. It’s considered as important as customer verification because suppliers and vendors can also bring risks of fraud.

Law enforcement agencies around the world are now enforcing digital KYB solutions to implement business audits in banks, financial institutions, and government offices. These are intended to prevent and help in the fight against frauds that ruin the reputations of businesses.

With the integration of KYB checks in their digital platforms, businesses can get complete information about the authenticity and credibility of potential corporate partners. Digital KYB solutions include authentication of registration numbers and jurisdiction codes assigned to a particular company.

Source: guardian.ng

How Digital KYB Solutions Work

‘Know your business’ process involves a detailed analysis of the beneficial owners, stakeholders, regular operations, and relationships with other businesses. 

The collective use of technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) algorithms, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) helps in the verification of key characteristics. These include the address, type of company, and trademarks.

Due Diligence

In the case of customers, a  due diligence process is conducted to check the background of transactions and accounts. It is an examination of financial records (or a potential investment or product) prior to entering into a proposed transaction with another party. 

The high-risk cases go through enhanced due diligence. Similarly, business entities are also checked by carrying out due diligence to assess the risks.

You should consider a variety of factors when doing due diligence on a stock, including company capitalization, revenue, valuations, competitors, management and risks. 

If you take time to do due diligence properly, you will be better equipped to make a decision that will align with your overall investment strategy. 

Source: fioregroup.org

AML Screening

The sanction screening process involves the AML screening of important entities of businesses, like the management and stakeholders. AML screening means searching the data of global watchlists for possible involvement of business entities in crimes like money laundering.

The red flags or high-risk business entities are those that are considered to have greater chances of involvement in illicit activities. It includes list scanning, PEP list scanning (politically exposed persons), adverse media screening etc. 

For example, PEPs are considered more likely to be involved in criminal or negative activities thus it requires extremely detailed assessment before financial institutions think of associating with them. 

The primary goal is to carry out an in-depth check to find out if your client or a vendor has any connection to any sort of crime, frauds, terrorist funding etc. 

AML Compliance Obligations

Law enforcement agencies around the world are implementing updated regulatory measures due to increased financial crimes. 

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 is where this process began to counter tax evasion due to illegal drug dealing. Basically, banks are required to report activities of their customers, like transactions exceeding a certain amount (usually $10,000). 

AML compliance encourages businesses to verify their partner companies and suppliers before collaborations. In most cases, businesses do comply because non-compliance leads them to pay huge penalties. Apart from the amount they lose to these fines, there are also losses due to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Source: firstaml.com

Automated Verification Solution

The increasing requirement for automation of processes is an obvious necessity of the digital era. Old techniques of manually verifying data took long hours and added to the costs because humans are not as fast as computers when it comes to searching through large chunks of data.

This is why organizations that didn’t implement verification procedures due to the assumption that it will take too much time are now looking towards KYB checks. Automated verification reduces human resource expenses and adds to productivity. 

Additionally, the security provided by automated systems far exceeds what humans can achieve with manual methods. This proves how efficient and thorough digital KYB solutions are.

Source: leadsquared.co.za

Benefits of Digital KYB Solutions

Any organization involving use of financial operations or sensitive assets requires top-of-the-line security. With increasing frauds and monetary losses because of money laundering, it’s clear that businesses do not implement satisfactory measures for security. The results are hefty compliance fines and often bankruptcy. 

Digital KYB solutions provide security to businesses and help prevent frauds in online spaces as well as fulfill compliance guidelines. Global authorities impose AML regulations that require businesses to carry out background checks of vendors and suppliers to know their legitimacy and credibility. 

It often happens that shell companies that are created for illicit purposes harm businesses by not returning loans or fulfilling the decided requirements.

This not only causes the business to lose a lot of money, but they also have to pay compliance fines because such occurrences affect several entities at the same time.

In addition, blacklisted businesses trap companies by manipulation due to the lack of verification systems, often leading them to a dark spot in terms of compliance regulations. It’s not just shell companies either, there are also cases where the business seems to be legitimate and verified, but there are corrupt entities within their system. Corrupt employees are a danger to not only the business which they are a part of but also the partner companies.

These employees, like the rest, know everything about the company and are seemingly trustworthy, but in reality, they would be wanted by world agencies for financial crimes like money laundering and terrorist financing.

Source: newtimezone.com

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, businesses face risks of losses due to internal and external suspicious activities, resulting in adverse consequences. To avoid bearing huge financial losses and compliance issues, KYB verification measures must be implemented. Digital KYB solutions are also significant in adding value to businesses and building customer trust.

Headless Commerce: Is it the Future of Online Sales?

Online shopping habits have greatly altered in recent years. Today, people use smartphones far more than their desktop computers to buy things on the Internet hence they expect much more from the online stores

Outdated e-stores with sluggishly loading pages, inconvenient navigation, and generally poor performance don’t get the approval of buyers. For businesses, this simply means lost sales if the store is not compatible (from the technical perspective) and won’t live up to the audience’s expectations. 

Bottom line: change requires change.

Headless commerce is a new trend that determines the future of online selling. 

Find out what’s all the fuss, how it differs from traditional commerce and how merchants can benefit from a progressive frontend.

Source: saleslayer.com

Defining Monolithic Traditional Commerce Stores

The current situation is as follows: most online retail stores that we see online today are traditional commerce ones. A large portion of them was built a decade ago and uses heavy monolithic architecture.

This type of system keeps it all in one place; that is, everything is set up and maintained in a “single environment”. As a rule, these solutions are used to serve just one channel – in most cases, it all goes down to one site that’s mainly aimed at desktop users.

The backend and the frontend of such stores are closely interlinked. 

For example, this kind of architecture can be compared to a large warehouse that stores the entire data scope of your site. This includes the content that’s seen on the frontend by users along with all the information that’s managed in the backend (product database, order history, payment logs, customer data, etc).

In turn, this is why stores aren’t flexible enough when it comes down to their customization and how fast users receive the requested content on their screens.

Source: medium.com

The Biggest Drawbacks of Monolithic Architecture Stores

  • It takes a great deal of time to build monolithic websites in terms of development (since it involves both the frontend and the backend being tied together).
  • Moreover, stores with such coupled architecture are generally slower than headless ones. I.e., it takes them much more time to fetch the required content for users, which often causes irritation and bounce.
  • It’s time-consuming to make any changes, updates, or deployments. Developers who work with traditional commerce systems have to make changes in numerous places when they rework the code, making sure nothing else breaks in consequence. This implies that there’s practically no flexibility, leading to longer development and deployment time which backpedals the implementation of updates, features, and adopting new technology.
  • It gets tricky if you face the need to create something custom. Since this approach is very closely tied to the used framework and toolset, most “moves” that you can make with the site are often predefined. Topping that, because such traditional systems “run by other rules”, when you need something unique, there will most likely be big obstacles. This primarily regards changes to the store to suit mobile devices that require a different look.
  • With a monolithic store, you often get stuck with some solutions. The thing is that not everything can be updated or tweaked. Design is commonly a sore subject as, in most cases, there are big restrictions and limitations of what you can and cannot do in terms of an eCommerce store’s UX and UI (especially if we keep in mind design variations for multiple devices).
  • Most importantly, sticking to a solution that can’t be in line with the times and that will soon be outdated is not the best decision for online retail businesses. After all, you’ll have to shift to something else at some point in order for your business to adapt to the times, drive traffic, and convert.

Explaining Headless Decoupled Commerce Stores

As shortly mentioned earlier, the shift towards headless commerce is the next big deal in online retail. This rather recent trend revolves around such an architecture that splits apart a store’s frontend and backend.

Decoupled headless commerce systems use API to connect the backend with the frontend and have the frontend based on a modern framework (such as ReactJS or AngularJS). This helps the system quickly deliver its users the content that they want to see on the store no matter the used device.

Image credit: Pexels

Due to this separation, one single store can have different “heads” that’ll serve separate client touchpoints. That is, it may offer multiple solutions for users who wish to shop in the store using various devices.

Each “head” can be adapted to work with a specific device: smart home technology, a mobile phone, a desktop computer, a watch, a smart fridge, a voice assistant speaker, etc. They’ll be attached to the backend of the store via API. Thus, if you want to have the chance to support multiple channels, headless commerce can be what you’re looking for.

Furthermore, in turn, the backend of a headless commerce store can be divided too. This division is referred to as microservices. For example, the payment and search can have their own databases as opposed to a single one for them all. It allows avoiding “snowball” breaks and data mix-ups. 

In general, optimizing a site and its performance is much simpler with headless because it’s lightweight. The same applies if you want to have custom solutions that don’t depend on pre-set tools and layouts. Clearly, it makes sense to have a scalable site that’s not fully dependent on a single CMS.

The approach can also safeguard against mutual breaks. So, if you want to stop worrying that changes on the frontend can negatively affect the backend (or the other way around) during deployments, releases, or updates, don’t overlook headless commerce. Your dev teams can work separately on the frontend and backend without going back and forth.

Source: connectionmodel.com

The Drawbacks of Headless Commerce

  • Such changes won’t happen in a day. This is the first thing that you should keep in mind.
    Splitting an existing store’s backend from the frontend usually requires a load of “heavy-lifting” from the development perspective. Just as it is building a headless store from scratch.
  • If your online business is large-scale, you most likely have a highly customized monolithic store. In this case, your first option is building the headless commerce site from the ground up, i.e., not investing time in splitting what you have.  Alternatively, you can decouple your existing site’s frontend and backend, creating an API for the latter. For a large enterprise, headless commerce makes sense in this scenario if you have many unique solutions developed specifically for your business. But prepare for the long hours and costs that imply.
  • Next, there may be a necessity in creating plenty of UX\UI designs. Since there may be no frontend designs for the devices you want your store to support, this will require the work of designers. They’ll have to make the “looks” of the headless storefront for multiple endpoints. This implies a lot of hours from the developer’s side too to implement the UI and UX. Bear in mind that there’ll be a time-consuming UX\UI design stage of the entire site and its further development.

Undoubtedly, such work comes at a cost. Finding a team that you can trust with such a complicated headless project isn’t easy either. But this is the sacrifice that’ll pay off both short-term and long-term.

So How Do You Get Started with Headless Commerce?

Source: thirstcreative.co.au

There are numerous paths to follow if you’ve decided that you’re going headless. Here are some tips for you to get started.

Step 1

Before you begin the search for the optimal headless option for you, browse the web for some examples and think about what you have at the moment.

Step 2

Do some planning on the scope of work that’s ahead and think your strategy through.

The great thing is that you don’t have to build the whole store simultaneously. You can take things one piece at a time. For example, you may first transform your eCommerce store into a progressive web application (PWA).

Getting a PWA can be the big primary decision that’ll take you closer to headless commerce. You’ll therefore prepare your store for the attachment of other “heads” someday in the future as a PWA’s architecture presupposes decoupling.

Progressive web apps have many benefits, crucial of them being the fact that they optimize both the mobile and desktop versions of the store. This can cater to the needs of most of your audience today and provide the needed level of customer experience.

Plus, PWAs have a design that has “copied” the best that native applications provide, they work in browsers and don’t have to be downloaded, and are super fast. Here are many Magento PWA examples that you can take a look at.

Below are a couple of screenshots taken on a mobile device from the Apivita cosmetics site that is a PWA. It’s simple to navigate and has a neat design!

Source: Apivita

Step 3 

Define which current weak spots you want to improve, what are your main goals and which results you want to achieve in the long term.

Step 4

Determine which functionality you’ll need and which things should be your priority (for example, reaching impeccable site speed or supporting different devices).

Step 5

Finalize your budget.

Step 6

Consider which eCommerce platform you need and the approach to crafting a headless frontend and backend that’ll be right for your specific business. In most cases, you’ll need a team of professionals that specialize in a particular platform to work on your project.

Source: droptica.com

Final Say

We’ve seen a huge growth in online sales in the past few years, especially caused by the recent global pandemic.

Such a situation leaves business owners with the decision on whether to start reworking their online stores now or not. And the best choice here is to do so without delay. Optimizing stores in terms of their speed, UX\UI, performance, and capability to serve multiple endpoints is a must for user satisfaction, SEO, and conversions.

And what’s for headless commerce, if your business is planning to expand to omnichannel sales in the future, this is the only correct route on your map. A good point to start your online store’s “journey” to “destination headless” is converting it into a progressive web application.

How is Digital Transformation The Future Of Sustainable Agriculture

Recent pandemic along with climate change and environmental issues caused even more pressure on the agricultural industry. Agricultural companies and farmers across the globe are exploring sustainable methods of increasing productivity to deal with the growing demands and unforeseen events, like pandemic situations. 

Advancement in the development of machinery enabled improved performance of farming equipment to cultivate the farmland more efficiently. 

Today, agriculture is entering the ‘data and connectivity’ revolution. Data standards, software solutions, smart irrigation, drones, Internet of Things (IoT) etc. are all the technologies that made their way into the agriculture industry.

What is AgriTech?

AgriTech means applying technology in agriculture, horticulture etc. for improving crops and efficiency. The IoT in Agriculture (IoTAg) represents a specific use of technology where agricultural operations become linked. 

Nowadays, there are technologies like AI, advanced analytics, sensors and other emerging technologies that can help to improve efficiency of precision irrigation, increase crop yields and build sustainability for crop cultivation. 

However, if you do not have a strong connectivity infrastructure, this cannot be possible. If connectivity is implemented successfully in agriculture, the precision farming market could grow at around 15% CAGR from 2019 to 2025 as compared to 2018.  

Despite this, agriculture still remains less digitized when compared to many other industries worldwide. 

To address such challenges, agriculture must adopt a digital transformation which should be supported by connectivity. Digital tools as they can assist farmers to use all of their resources more efficiently while allowing better optimization of yields.

The pandemic crisis has further aggravated other challenges agriculture faces such as digitization and sustainability. 

Source: gminsights.com

Current Digitization in Agriculture

In recent years, many farmers have started to consult data about essential variables like soil or crops/livestock condition and weather but only a few had access to advanced analytics tools that would help them turn such data into actionable insights. In less-developed regions, the majority of farmwork is still manual, with almost no connectivity.

Current IoT technologies are able to support simpler cases, such as monitoring of crops/livestock, but in order to achieve full connectivity for agriculture, the industry must fully utilize digital applications. Digital applications include high bandwidth, high resiliency, low latency and support for a number of devices offered by frontier connectivity technologies like 5G, LPWAN or LEO satellites

Source: mckinsey.com

However, connectivity coverage is expanding almost everywhere and the solution is to develop more effective digital tools for the industry and to support broad adoption of them.

Future of Network

Crops and Livestock Monitoring

Being connected provides many ways for farming companies to improve their crops or livestock monitoring.

If farming companies integrate weather data, including irrigation details, nutrients analysis etc. it can boost yields enabling them to predict and identify deficiencies more accurately.  For example, if sensors monitoring soil conditions can communicate via LPWAN, they can guid sprinklers and adjust watering or nutrients dosing.  

IoT sensors can provide images from remote land areas helping farmers with early warnings on potential diseases or pests. Farmers can improve crop revenue if monitoring crops for quality characteristics like fruit color or size etc. thus optimizing the entire harvesting process. 

It is similar for livestock – preventing disease outbreaks and spotting early warnings are crucial in livestock management. Chips, body sensors and already popular ear-tag technology allow farmers to monitor livestock’s heat and pulse among other indicators, detecting early signs of illnesses and preventing herd infection. Ear-tag can also trace location allowing farming companies to trace their livestock in a real time. 

Ecological responsibility is important for every industry and implementing environmental sensors can automate adjustments in ventilation or heating in barns thus improving living conditions of livestock. 

IoT networks are still being developed as they cannot support bandwidth and connection issues, however 5G and Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) are good candidates to resolve the problems. 

Source: pinterest.com

Pest Management

Up to recently, most farms used visual signs for monitoring pests. 

Although it was a common practice, it was inefficient and expensive and in such conditions, farmers lacked the ability to identify the early warnings and react to an outbreak in a timely manner. 

Pest management can include the following: collecting and accurately interpreting data on pests’ activity for more efficient treatment; integrating biosecurity tracking for rapid response across infected areas; the ability to share data with the relevant institutions to enable faster risk mitigation and connection of devices to report specific pest levels etc. 

All these actions automate monitoring and data collection for farming companies to take more precise countermeasures.  

The ability to automate and remotely monitor pests helps farmers to maintain good health of their farms. 

Source: forbes.com

Imaging, Drones and UAVs

Satellite imaging, smart drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) assist farmers to collect images and recognize changes to soil/crops, assess irrigation or spray crops. 

Agriculture has already been using drones with crop spraying but the new generation of drones can survey crops/herds over vast areas and send real-time data to other connected devices. With addition of computer vision, drones are able to analyze field conditions and notify on any necessary interventions like fertilizing, spraying pesticides etc. where crops need them the most. Drones can also plant seeds in remote or inaccessible areas, thus reducing the costs of equipment and manpower. 

With inputs from imaging, farmers can conduct crop forecasting and improve their production management. Integrated mapping can help identify issues and improve yields and time spent on certain agricultural processes. 

For livestock, it can be a valuable tool to deliver information on stock conditions preventing disease outbreaks. 

Source: vietnamnet.vn

Autonomous Farming Machinery

Implementation of smart autonomous machinery allows farmers to operate different equipment simultaneously, without human assistance. Such automation reduces time and costs where more precise GPS controls (paired with sensors) could advance the usage of smart machinery.  

Autonomous machines are more efficient and precise than human-operated ones and using them can help generate fuel savings and higher crop yields. 

Modern farming companies complete most processes with the help of a computer or a mobile app. It allows them to access the data on-the-go, communicate with other key people in the supply chain and provide them with a chance to place an order at any time. 

Such an approach leads to higher customer satisfaction as consumers can access information and conduct transactions directly online while ensuring that the products will arrive fresh from the farm. 

These faster solutions give farming companies a competitive edge in the world of revenue and business. 

Source: futurefarming.com

Smart Irrigation 

The management of water usage on farms is now in the center of attention. Approximately 70% of total volume of water usage is used in agriculture irrigation

A certain percentage of those is lost whether due to land runoff or inefficient usage methods. 

Smart irrigation solutions offer a solution – IoT management platform that closely monitors and adjusts water utilisation on the farms. Dashboard integrates irrigation information giving access to farmers to improve decision making. Factors like timing, minimising wastage and analyzing soil moisture empowers farmers to fine tune their irrigation requirements. 

Implementing smart irrigation lowers the chances of human errors with the automated systems such as smart valves for example.

Smart irrigation can reduce water wastage and improve the quality of crop growth in the fields through precision agriculture practices. 

Source: farmmanagementsystem.com.au

Building and Equipment Management

The advancement in IoT technologies along with chips and sensors to monitor and measure certain levels of silos or warehouses can automate ordering, reduce inventory costs and more. 

These solutions can improve ‘shelf life’ of products and reduce losses by monitoring and automatically optimizing storage conditions. Such monitoring conditions and usage of equipment can also reduce energy consumption. 

Predictive maintenance systems paired with computer vision or sensors can curb repair costs while extending machinery/equipment life at the same time. 

Source: nucorbuildingsystems.com

Weather & Climate Monitoring 

Climate changes and extreme weather conditions create further uncertainty for farmers. 

That is where technology comes to help with weather predictions to help farmers manage their crops and farm more securely. 

For example, if the farmers know that the storm is coming, they can pick a crop a day early to prevent any losses. 

The ability to manipulate inputs enables the farmers to better control their crops. For example, if rainfall increases, they can adjust their irrigation systems to input less water to offset wet conditions. 

Source: rikasensor.com.cn

FINAL

Although agriculture found itself on the brink of a technological revolution, the industry will have to overcome challenges of deploying advanced connectivity. 

Being able to connect and share information in agriculture (soil sensors, weather forecast etc.) across different devices will enable farmers and suppliers to boost efficiency and productivity. 

The sustainability of agriculture depends on technological transformation and if you embrace it, you can position your business to thrive in an agritech-driven future. 

All these technologies helping agriculture can assist in increasing sustainability that the industry needs to thrive in the future.