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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.

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.

Tech Innovations in Consumer Goods Manufacturing

Consumer-goods (CG) companies have already started to apply digital solutions to their manufacturing processes. The new pandemic measures and globalization added further difficulties to all supply chain parts and product life cycles.  

With little margin for error, CG companies are looking into new ways to improve their products and processes. In order to provide the best service and customer experience, while keeping the costs low, many CG companies are turning towards agile or lean manufacturing. 

Source: consumergoods.com

Industry 4.0 brings the digitization of the entire manufacturing chain where Big Data, Cloud and IoT technologies help manufacturers to get an overview of the entire value chain. 

Some companies are not sure what parts of the manufacturing process can benefit the most from digitization and what they should plan next. 

So let’s see how companies can apply technology and use advanced analytics to optimize their manufacturing processes. 

Source: ielts-adviser.com

Lean Transformation 

Lean transformation is the process of ‘introducing changes into an organization to maximize the flow of value produced for the customer.’ The result is removal of wasteful activities for optimized operational processes.  

The best way for a company is to centralize data and assets into a cloud-based hub. Such a hub can contain different suites of tools to support daily lean operations (performance tracking, management system, platform for sharing information and real time collaboration etc.). 

Such an organization enables key people to access company information (via dashboards, graphs etc.), enabling them to detect any performance gaps and compare metrics by custom  filters. A cloud-based hub can automate data collection and exporting, tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) and generating email reports, thus significantly reducing the amount of administrative workload.

Sharing data quickly enables more productive collaboration between different sectors in the company and more efficient communication where your employees can more likely discover issues in real time. 

Preventing small problems to become major disruptions is crucial while scaling up. 

When companies succeed in deploying digital tools to business quickly with minimal resources, it may improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) by up to 20% within a few months. 

Source: lean.org

Advanced Analytics 

Advanced analytics have had a massive effect within particular sectors like Quality Control, Predictive Maintenance and Supply Chain Optimization. 

Quality Control

Assets in many consumer-goods companies are difficult to keep optimized due to uncertain conditions. This can prevent the company from achieving the quality targets.

Depending on your area of operation, manufacturers can exploit the data collected by sensors or other devices in order to improve their quality control. 

For example, if you produce and distribute polymer solutions (or any other product), you can adjust your warehouse process using customized algorithms to analyze sensor data and deliver productivity increase. Usage of sensors can significantly reduce the time necessary for employees to complete the tasks (scanning the labels, monitoring the storage facility etc.). Quicker inputs and more efficient communication reduces administrative workload. 

CG companies should always analyze their own data for the entire manufacturing process/facility to improve the quality of their products/services. 

Source: graphocproducts.com

Data Collection

All manufacturing companies gather data whether manually or automatically. Even when you collect data on a regular basis, you should always strive for MORE data. 

Theory says that increased data collection will ensure your facility to prevent release of improper products, avoid injuries, increase efficiency, and more. 

But to put theory into practice, DO NOT focus on the amount of data, but on the quality of data and its proper analysis. The data you gather must be meaningful in order to provide you with insights. 

To make a greater impact, you should try to identify the worst-performing stages in the production or storage process. Then adjust and use the analytics to determine your facility’s shortcomings. Such an approach will provide you with insights into operations while identifying areas for improvement. 

A proactive approach can always help you to quickly begin reducing costs and deficiencies. 

Source: pinterest.com

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is already in use by some consumer-goods companies for maintenance activities resulting in possible maintenance cost reduction from 10-40%. 

Consumer companies can deploy sensors to collect data and later use for analysis (or comparative analysis) via custom algorithms and determine the optimal time for a certain action (replacement of a machine parts, product processing stages etc.). Such precision predictions based on thorough analysis can increase your product quality and lower inventory or other costs. 

Vehicle sensor information can also be used for predictive maintenance – maximizing the lifetime of company equipment (vehicles, forklifts, trucks etc.) with preventive maintenance based on the overall data. 

Source: manufacturingtomorrow.com

Supply Chain Optimization

Consumer goods companies are putting all their efforts to reduce costs and optimize most of the supply processes. 

Some companies use analytics software solutions to determine the best distribution plans per area considering storage capacity or local demand. Such analytics enable companies to increase profits with little or no change in production capacity. 

These analytics solutions include Big Data for warehouse management and data inputs from bar codes, RFID, GPS etc. They can obtain traffic sensor data, road network and vehicle data in real time enabling logistics teams to optimize transportation or delivery processes. Moreover, they can react to unforeseen events (accidents, blockage) more effectively; track cargo or vehicles in real time and provide customers with real-time updates. 

When talking ‘Big’, the common practice should be to implement Big Data first into individual departments in the supply chain and only then repeat the success across other departments. Such an approach will help managers to mitigate internal resistance and review the strategic business goals driving the specific operational unit. 

The ‘Big Data’ approach requires a whole architecture together with hardware, software and internal protocols for collecting, analyzing and storing the data in real time. Such architecture will allow data scientists to search and filter information, generate relevant reports and share actionable plans across the company’s various departments. 

The architecture MUST be scalable as the volume of data will grow and it MUST be secured as any consumer privacy data must be protected. It also must communicate with customer relationship management systems providing real time intelligence providing insights to relevant stakeholders. 

Supply chain optimization software can generally help manufacturers to connect the entire manufacturing value chain, from procurement to the final production and delivery. Using such software helps you to track, predict and eliminate operational bottlenecks within the supply chain.

Source: Mckinsey.com

Internet of Things (IoT)

The consumer goods industry as a whole has been increasingly embracing IoT technology. 

The Internet of Things represents different devices that are connected online or via the Internet. IoT could not be possible without the Internet as well as cloud computing and small sensors which enable more devices to get interconnected quickly. 

Some of the benefits of IoT technology in manufacturing are cost reduction, increased efficiency, improved safety and product innovation. 

Most companies were enabled to make more informed decisions based on real-time information and coupled with other tech innovations, IoT technology can help manufacturing companies drive more efficient short or long-term goals. 

IoT adoption has increased significantly over the past years as manufacturers are realizing its potential and value much more.

ERP systems

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are the basics to keep your company competitive and apply lean methods. 

ERP systems automate and optimize the company’s processes using real time information. This helps to reduce operational costs and prevent any bottlenecks through the operational process. 

ERP systems provide businesses with real-time access to enterprise data enabling efficient communication from any part of the world. This way, ERP systems facilitate the vital flow of data and support global markets.  

Such systems enable companies to efficiently manage warehouse operations, organize and stock inventory as per sale forecasted results, 

ERP systems provide quicker communication with vendors or suppliers across the globe while supporting drop ship purchase orders, saving extra expenses and labor. 

Coupled with forecasting and predictive analytics, ERP systems can help you not only to improve operational efficiency but also build a better consumer-friendly brand. 

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual and Augmented Reality have become increasingly utilized in several industries, where consumer goods companies successfully follow the latest trend. 

A good example is Walmart, which opened another ‘test store’ in October 2020 for the purpose of implementing AR technology for inventory control. Their application helps employees with inventory control – employees hold up a handheld device which highlights the boxes ready to go to the sales floor, improving the process so they do not have to scan each individual box. This is a great example of AR used for a more streamlined workflow. 

An exciting area for VR is marketing – using VR in marketing can boost conversion rates as consumers are more prone to buy a product they interacted with virtually. A compelling example are virtual reality car showrooms – Audi and BMW provide VR experience for their customers to simulate sitting in the genuine car model with all the texture leather and the knobs included. 

There are many more examples of AR/VR use cases, where manufacturers and consumer goods companies offer a complete customer-driven experience thus increasing their online presence and building a stronger brand.

Source: business.libertymutual.com

3D Printing

Manufacturers in the consumer goods industry have seen a variety of benefits from 3D printing with reduced production costs in the first place. Prototyping with 3D printing is much quicker allowing designers to fine-tune and test the products quickly. 

3D printing made it possible to produce prototypes much quicker than with traditional manufacturing methods, like CNC. It speeds up the process of designing concepts and making changes with 3D prototypes – you can produce them overnight and they will be ready for testing the next day.  

3D printing enables companies to produce complex features which lead to innovative products, optimized for durability and/or strength. 

Customization is another benefit of 3D printing because it does not require expensive tooling changes for individual specifications. As data is transferred to the 3D printer, there is no need for other tools other than the printer itself. Zero tooling means printing a variety of designs at no extra production cost. 

Thanks to the use of this technology, the companies can also design and test new machine parts in less time and costs involved. 

3D printing allows manufacturers to make products on-demand, meaning that companies can experiment with more designs without needing a large investment. As the printing process is adding layers to produce a part, it can significantly reduce material waste and make the entire manufacturing process more sustainable. 

Source: amfg.ai

Final Word

Consumer goods companies are already benefiting from usage of digital tools; however, companies must also undertake an organizational transformation if they want to keep the pace with digitization within consumer goods manufacturing. Such transformation involves each department within the company and requires full commitment of every employee. 

Consumer companies should turn to digital transformation and then can hope to reap greater benefits from digital tools. 

Implementing digital solutions will leverage the benefits to the company and in the long run, it will start a new era of manufacturing efficiency. 

How Immersive Technology Can Boost Customer Experience

Immersive technology has been redefining the way businesses deliver their services and products to consumers. This revolution greatly enhanced customer experience in a way that no other technologies have been able to provide. Now, consumers can have realistic experiences by plunging into the virtual space before they actually buy a product or service.

How does this improve customer experience?

As you know, a good customer experience is all about making a customer happy while shopping for a product or service. This includes every step from inquiry to checking the products or services they want to avail, purchasing, and after service. All these aspects are touched by immersive technology while making the experience more interesting, accurate and effective thus helping customers to make the most of their hard-earned cash.

Immersive technologies are no longer a stranger to businesses today. In fact, Facebook recognized their power, which led them to the bold decision of buying the Oculus VR. In addition, Facebook and its acquired photo and video-sharing network, Instagram, have been using simple AR tricks using funny stickers in their camera apps. Lately, they incorporated simple Virtual Reality in their filter selections.

Source: virtualengineeringcentre.com

The result?

More and more people are getting hooked on both social media platforms. The FB and IG Stories, as well as their messaging apps, are gaining more traction among users because of all the fun filters and backgrounds incorporated in them. 

Businesses have also begun using the Stories feature to add a twist to their Instagram ads and engage their customers by adding interactive stickers. This only shows that FB and IG are putting immersive technologies into good use that’s bringing the platforms more and more profits.

But what is immersive technology?

Fully Immersive Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities

Immersive technology can be classified into the following types:

  • Augmented reality (AR) adds computer-generated objects to the real world
  • Virtual reality (VR) changes what users see and experience by overlaying a computer-generated environment to the real world
  • Mixed Reality (MR) combines AR and VR in one experience

Immersive experiences can be built on these digital technologies.

Now that we’ve defined these immersive techniques, let’s find out about the current issues in managing customer experience that can be resolved using AR, VR, or a combination of both.

Source: elearningindustry.com

Current Challenges Faced by Businesses in Managing Customer Experience

The biggest issue faced by businesses worldwide is the limitation brought by the Covid pandemic. 

The effect is especially grim for those selling products compared to those that are offering services. The elimination of physical shopping as a way to preserve the health of both sellers and buyers has made skeptical shoppers more hesitant to buy. These shoppers are those who want to see and test products first before they give away their money. 

Meanwhile, this limitation lessened the opportunity for sellers to apply their “sales talks” to convince shoppers to buy from them.

How Immersive Technology can Resolve the Issue

Immersive technology is breaking the barriers and lifting the limitations brought by the lingering Covid pandemic. As people are advised to stay at home, businesses can use the different reality technologies to reach out to their customers and bring their offers virtually right in front of them, giving them a level of customer experience that’s similar to when they are shopping physically.

The use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality started a long time ago.

Nike has its Nike Fit app that leverages AR strategies to get the foot measurement of shoppers and give them a 360 view of what a shoe will look like on them even without physically visiting the Nike stores.  

IKEA has its IKEA Place that lets you place true-to-scale digital models of their furniture in real space. This allowed homeowners to check whether a couch or dining set will fit into their rooms without the tiring and time-consuming task of buying furniture and having it delivered only to find out that they don’t fit in their spaces.

Source: youtube.com

The tourism and hospitality industries, before Covid happened, have been using VR to give travelers a realistic preview of hotel rooms as well as a virtual tour to the whole resort. This did not only help travelers decide on the right resort and room to book but also helped businesses convince more people to choose them over the others.

Now, all of these reality technologies are being improved as Covid’s likely here to stay. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of investing in AR and VR to give their customers the same shopping experience as pre-Covid.

People want to be safe at home but they also want to make sure that they are putting their money on the right product as they shop online. VR and AR give consumers a realistic way to check items online and feel confident about their purchase, like Sephora did with their Visual Artist. And when they do receive the exact product condition that they tested through VR and AR, customers will naturally feel happy and they’d return to the same shop for the other items they need.

Source: sephora.my

Overall, Immersive technology is a creative way to deliver a spectacular shopping experience to consumers whether they are buying online or from a physical shop. Targeting the imagination of consumers gives them a unique experience that makes them thrilled and, later, convinced to purchase. So, the adoption of AR, VR, and MR in your business can open new opportunities to enhance customer experience and increase sales.

Implementing Immersive Technology in Your Business

Now that we’ve seen the impact of immersive technology on customer experience, let’s look into some ways on how you can use AR, VR, or MR to your company’s advantage.

1. Define the areas where you can integrate reality technologies

Before releasing any immersive technology efforts, businesses should first assess how AR, VR, or MR can be applied in their system. 

Check your products and how you can deliver them digitally to your customers. If you are selling food, you definitely cannot use AR and VR for your customers to have a free taste. But you can use these technologies to capture their interest, for instance, by using AR to show them how each food was prepared neatly in your kitchen or VR to tour them in your kitchen to touch their emotions and influence their decision.

2. Decide on how they can be shared with your customers

Now that you know how to use immersive technology to promote your product and make your customers happier when shopping, it’s time to decide on how people can access your AR or VR efforts.

Most businesses are now using apps that can be easily downloaded by customers on their smart devices to share the immersive experience. Like we cited above, Nike and IKEA are using apps based on AR to help their customers make a more informed decision even without visiting their stores.

Other ways can be through 360 tours and the use of AR or VR glasses, which may be more costly and impractical for both the seller and the consumer.

3. Collect data and convert it to Digital Data

All objects used in AR and VR are in their digital format. 

Finding a way to turn them into digital data and storing them in your app is the way to successfully impart an immersive experience to your customers. Nike has probably done 3D models of all their shoes in their different colors and sizes and those data are stored in the memory of the app. Businesses that want to use immersive technology will probably have to do the same.

Source: news.nike.com

4. Test the app and launch it

There’s nothing more frustrating than using an app that doesn’t work properly. 

Make sure that before launching it to the public, your app must be tested in real-life situations to know whether it is effective and to determine areas that should be improved. 

If you don’t, you are more likely to annoy your customers than make them happy.

Source: eurostarsoftwaretesting.com

Conclusion

Immersive technology has a big potential to help businesses improve their customer service so that their consumers can feel more satisfied with their shopping. With their power to connect businesses and consumers virtually, customer experience can be greatly improved. It may even serve as an interesting way for consumers and businesses to communicate like they are together in a single space when they are miles apart.

AR, VR, and MR are here to stay. Although they still cannot replace the experience that consumers can have in a brick-and-mortar store, they can at least do more than simply showing photos or videos to the consumers. 

Technology has also greatly revolutionized smartphones to transform ordinary photos of people and objects into seemingly flawless ones, which can also be done by the best photo editing software by manipulating and creating vectors in Illustrator or Corel. 

While their transformative capabilities are of great use to businesses, some buyers can be doubtful of the true quality of the product that they cannot decide on through photos. And this is just another aspect that immersive technology can resolve.

6 Reasons Why Application Maintenance is Essential for Your Product

Application maintenance is quite necessary for every product regardless of the business type. The developers sometimes avoid conducting application maintenance after the product release however, such maintenance is a major factor that comes in every place for the product. It particularly includes different processes from updating to stabilizing and securing the product’s application. 

Each product is necessarily required to go through the secured application maintenance process. If this is not initiated seriously, clients and companies could face a huge level of financial penalty while also suffering consequences of different maintenance problems. That is the reason why proper application maintenance is extremely important to rectify any issues that may be arising during the course of product functioning.

Bug Fixes

Many website entrepreneurs, businesses, or developers face bugs, so it is wise to regularly test and retest your product for defects or glitches. Both the application maintenance and development process encounter bugs in many ways but these bugs can occur due to several reasons, making the application maintenance process a difficult one. 

The bugs enter code during the application maintenance for the product – these specifically include last-minute changes, buggy third-party tools, and lack of version controls. Other areas of bug coding are unrealistic release schedules, miscommunications, and human mistakes.

Source: pinterest.com

The bugs usually occur in different varieties – some of them are seriously causing hindrance to application functionality while others frequently cause improper operating or unnoticed functions. Any kind of bugs can cause a huge problem for the entire product, so their elimination is quite necessary before raising a critical issue. 

App bugs can cause great disappointment and annoyance with users. The users’ inconvenience can be better avoided by eliminating different types of bugs on time, considering that most projects face bug elimination issues up to 5% to 10%. 

Security Patches/Updates

The application maintenance process involves an automatic update of the product system however, both apps and software are required to support updates through the manual process as well. The initiation of the update process can somewhat be a frustrating one, but clients and developers can still work on updates through an easy and simple process. 

The process of updating the product and its app enables acquiring more users while gaining ‘out-of-the-box’ features and an impressive brand at the same time. It is the main reason that the web application maintenance benefits provide routine service to the clients with the development of error-free applications and the development of the appealing product. These benefits further preserve usability, app data, progressive outcome and effective solutions. 

The important changes come during the course of the update although it mostly consists of security stability and web application performance. The systemic functioning of updates’ installation necessitates an effective working on the web application maintenance and its product review. It is good to know that the process of patching and updating software and apps is automatically resolved with the latest security problems.  

Third-Party API Updates

The application maintenance process involves a direct link with the third-party service and it mostly comprises Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. 

The API continues changing from the third-party service, meaning that it requires a timely update of the application maintenance. The newly developed service-based APIs should be used to update the entire product.

Source: pinterest.com

A slow working of the product occurs if the application maintenance is not carefully and timely updated with the right API system. This kind of maintenance is not regularly overseen where both old and newly developed APIs are continuously supported with the latest web application services. 

Most commonly, programmers initiate 8-16 hours to update the product with the application maintenance process and it is usually done to support a new development of third-party API making the overall product functions and systems functional, quicker and more accurate. 

Application Maintenance Scaling

A leading factor for the product’s application maintenance is its top-most scaling. It is similar to developing an MVP of the product where the app becomes highly popular with great expectations. The userbase of the product expands regularly, increasing the challenges for maintenance and support. However, there are many actions to introduce in order to resolve such maintenance issues. 

Facilitating New Functionality

Another aspect of application maintenance is facilitating a new functionality of the product and it is quite common, involving various features. It includes value-added work while facing tough rivals in terms of applications and products. It provides better product functioning due to the addition of new features during the application maintenance process. 

Amidst the course of application maintenance, development of new features comes as a leading factor. The clients and businesses are required to focus on the specific problems encountered during the product development process. The users’ feedback should be used for improving the overall functionality of the software or application. 

Monitoring:

The final step of the application maintenance of the product is its overall monitoring. Bugs cause a great issue for the product, making its functionality a serious issue. Bugs can crash apps and alter the API, forcing developers to focus attention on the application maintenance daily. 

A wise strategy to ensure robust monitoring of the product and its application maintenance is to hire an IT company that has experience in monitoring the product’s app. It can help developers to save time from everyday app maintenance issues while receiving direct alerts regarding the product’s development. Moreover, IT companies can develop the products in terms of updates, constant changes, web app development, and timely resolution of the app issues. 

The timely updates enable the users to enjoy stable functioning with the latest app or software versions. It finally saves companies from a financial penalty caused by poor application maintenance, thereby improving your brand with the latest app development trends. 

Conclusion

Maintaining the application requires the same amount of time as developing one – once you implement measures to maintain your product, you will be able to grow your application and acquire more users. 

Further and regular monitoring will enable you to upgrade your application easily and efficiently. 

The Business Benefits of Voice Assistants

Voice assistant technology has quickly become a part of our everyday lives. 

Voice assistance technology helps us to perform tasks using voice commands – you can control automated devices at home, manage emails or messages similar to the Reata app we’ve developed, set calendars and more. 

Nowadays the most popular voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Cortana of Microsoft serve our regular needs like creating to-do lists, play music or videos, provide miscellaneous information, read audio books and much more. 

Voice assistance does not serve only the private individual – it can be an excellent economic tool where companies can deploy it to improve productivity in the workplace. Introducing voice technology to your business operations can bring many benefits like reduced costs, improved efficiency and a competitive advantage on the market. 

Let’s see more benefits of voice assistant technology when applied in business:

Streamlines Business Operations

Voice technology within your company can help to improve your employees’ productivity as voice assistants can remember important dates or deadlines, schedule appointments and in general, keep the relevant information updated.

With integrating AI innovations and Deep Learning, the voice assistants work without stopping! They access reports, analyze data and keep crucial systems updated helping your business with seamless daily operations. 

Such task efficiency offers your employees more time to be productive and resourceful on other tasks thus reducing operational cost. 

Source: appinventiv.com

Improves eCommerce Marketing

eCommerce companies can use voice assistant chatbots to serve their customers – it is efficient especially for people with mobility or visual restrictions thus providing an outstanding customer experience to everyone. 

Voice assistants are able to personalize systems and provide marketers with enhanced consumer insights thus improve marketing. 

Chatbot for customers can offer an enjoyable online shopping experience at any device, while businesses can program such assistant chatbots to obtain (with consent, of course) consumer details like interests, transaction history, location etc. After you collect data, you can improve your business’s personalized marketing strategy and also improve/boost your website via SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 

The benefit of voice assistants is the way they can push companies and products to customers – interaction with consumers is much more conversational while brands can reach their customers in more natural and more compelling ways. 

Source: speak2web.com

Provides HR Support

If you integrate voice assistants for HR purposes, your HR officers will be able to focus on more complex tasks while voice technology can enable them to select qualified candidates or even conduct the preliminary interview. Machine Learning algorithms allow the hiring process to proceed quickly and more effectively. 

Voice assistants can help HR with scheduling – assistants can schedule interviews, training, meetings, reviews and more. With a simple voice command, meetings can be held without any threat of overlaps. 

Remove Language Barriers

Voice assistant technology integrates with translation services, helping your business to handle any language barriers that may occur. 

In our recent project Reata, the app seamlessly translates speech commands from the mic or text messages where users can read and hear the received messages in their own language allowing them to interact more freely. 

A good example is Google assistant which understands 27 different languages and counting. If you integrate voice assistant technology within eCommerce business, you can offer your consumers communication in their own language which leads to smoother customer experience and more revenue. 

Source: wsj.com

Improves Your Customer Service

Voice assistant technology is a useful tool to support businesses’ customer service – responding to queries, processing payments and following up on orders are just some of the tasks on the plate to optimize your customer service. 

As opposed to customer support agents, voice assistants do not take breaks thus enabling your business to be available at all times to respond to customers’ queries. 

These smart devices are called personal assistants for a reason – they serve as your secretary answering calls, booking appointments, taking messages and more. 

Source: smartcompany.com.au

Automates Repetitive Tasks

Including voice assistant technology to your business operations will not only improve your customer experience but also will improve your business’s productivity. 

Automating repetitive tasks to a voice assistant will free up more time to your employees. This way, all your resources that generate business growth will generate more revenue.

You can program voice assistants to deal with all your routine tasks to help your employees focus on other relevant tasks and not waste time on dull tasks. 

Source: chatbotjournal.com

Serves Customers with Visual Impairment

Voice technology has advanced a long way in responding to voice commands – integrating the technology to your business operations makes the interaction with smart devices more convenient and provides services to those people who have visual impairment. 

Voice technology will ensure that your customers with visual impairment get appropriate customer service no matter the part of the day. 

This can address not only customers but also employees with visual impairment – they can use a voice assistant to get any tasks done like anyone else. 

Source: istockphoto.com

Final Word

Not only does voice technology serve as a great assistant but it can also boost human talent, improve customer personalization and optimize productivity. 

The technology or the service a business uses determines its success – its competitive edge is an important factor and incorporating voice assistant technology into any business operations will surely improve your market advantage.