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7 must-have features a SaaS app development company should offer

Just like how CDs became obsolete as people became used to online content in real-time, the traditional software solutions have now succumbed to SaaS or Software as a Service. 

Because of SaaS development, now enterprise app developers near me can successfully make their services available to their customers by using cloud platforms while ensuring monetisation through the subscription-based model. 

Are you aspiring to develop a successful SaaS application? It is quite likely as SaaS happens to be one of the leading full stack development trends of our time. 

This is easy if you know the key features and capabilities that a modern SaaS app should offer. We will go deeper into these features and capabilities. But before all, we want to define SaaS platforms, how they work and the key benefits they offer. 

What is SaaS?

SaaS means Software as a Service, which means a software solution can be offered as a cloud-based service to the users over the internet instead of using local devices. Generally, such services are offered against a subscription. All the background tasks and processes for a SaaS solution take place over the cloud. This is why SaaS ensures unmatched scalability and flexibility. 

Some of the key benefits that SaaS platforms offer to users worldwide include the following. 

  • Cost-effectiveness: Instead of establishing the infrastructure and spending on development from scratch, availing of a monthly subscription plan for the SaaS solution is much more cost-effective. 
  • Scalability: SaaS allows unlimited scalability for apps that continuously grow and get new users onboard. 
  • Faster development: Thanks to SaaS, you can eliminate many development tasks for both the front and back end and reduce the development time. 
  • No downtime: Since cloud-based servers are decentralized and located across many global locations, there are always several options when one or many servers go down. This ensures the least downtime for the app. 
  • Ease of access: Thanks to all-pervading cloud support, SaaS applications can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any device or browser. 

Apart from all the above elementary advantages of SaaS apps for app projects, this distributed cloud and subscription-based approach can also offer modular features, capabilities and value additions for enterprise-grade apps across diverse niches. Thanks to these enterprise-grade value additions, SaaS apps are increasingly getting popular in the business world. 

Source: delante.co

What Key Features & Capabilities Should SaaS Apps Offer? 

Everything about SaaS corresponds to ease, flexibility, extensibility and scalability. No wonder enterprises always find SaaS apps ideal for businesses. But some specific features and capabilities are crucial for SaaS app development. Here we will shortlist some of these capabilities and features that any SaaS development company should offer.

Ease of access through the Cloud 

The core value proposition of SaaS lies in the fact that it is built upon the cloud.  With cloud server support, SaaS apps can ensure seamless accessibility across devices and locations without constraints, easier app maintenance, and smooth-rolling out of updates. Thanks to SaaS, a computer user can instantly avail of the latest OS update without needing to use a CD. 

Awesome extensibility 

A business, apart from the so-called concerns corresponding to cost and development time, always embraces SaaS because of accommodating a growing user base seamlessly. 

As the business and its user base grow, the cloud-supported SaaS decks up more capacity through remote servers, while the client company may only need a higher subscription plan. 

Flexible and adjustable cost 

When a business embraces a SaaS solution, it can opt for the most suitable pricing model as per its requirements and can even pay for the services as per its uses. There are multiple pricing models that a SaaS solution provider can offer, ranging from user-based, use-volume based, modular and hybrid. 

To make your SaaS solution, it is important to offer most users a pricing model with optimum flexibility and real-cost benefits. 

Smooth customer onboarding 

There are too many SaaS app products that, on the first day itself, are rejected by the users simply because of their confusing interface, which leads to unnecessary time spent by first-time users. 

Don’t rely on the customer managers to guide the new users or don’t rely on videos to let users understand everything. You must create an intuitive onboarding experience that most users find helpful instantly.

The modularity of SaaS through third-party integrations

How can a SaaS product allow users to the maximum per their evolving needs? Well, this requires a modular development approach that allows a lot of popular third-party integrations. These integrations are helpful equally for the users as well as developers. 

You can often avoid reinventing the wheel through third-party integrations for simple features and functionalities. These integrations allow developers to incorporate certain features already built by other developers and have become industry standards. Apart from allowing a lot of such integrations, you also need to consider building a marketplace where developers can compare and take them. 

Mobile-optimized user experience 

When SaaS apps cannot run on mobile devices, they automatically lose the vast majority of users. Since enterprise operations are increasingly getting mobile-centric, offering mobile-specific user experience across devices and platforms is a crucial requirement for SaaS solutions. 

Source: lambdatest.com

Seamless updates  

Finally, you must ensure that the updates for the respective SaaS solution follow a smooth path and don’t face obstacles due to increased server activity. This is where DevOps can do a great job by rolling out updates seamlessly without interfering with the services. 

Wrapping Up 

From the above elucidation, it is clear that SaaS will be in the driver’s seat for future enterprise applications. SaaS applications will be at the forefront of digital transformation as they will overcome many constraints related to the device ecosystem, servers, infrastructure and cost.

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Nathan McKinley is a Business Development Manager at Cerdonis Technologies LLC – mobile app development company in the USA , a comprehended service provider of mobile app development for the superior quality of AR/VR Apps.

The Difference Between Fintech And Blockchain

Blockchain and Fintech are two sides of the same coin, or are they? Not really. Blockchain has an important role to play in fintech innovations, but both technologies are different. However, both have the potential to play a significant role in changing how various industries are operating, particularly the financial sector.

Let’s talk about both Blockchain and Fintech and see how they differ from each other while being closely related.

Blockchain

Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized, and public ledger that records transactions across multiple computers simultaneously so that the record cannot be altered without altering all other blocks in the chain. It is based on an open, distributed ledger, and can record transactions efficiently and quickly.

In terms of cryptocurrency, if two companies perform business together and use crypto as a form of payment, their agreement creates a ‘block’ in the chain. The blockchain links and keeps these blocks secure using cryptography.

Blockchain technology was originally designed with a focus on cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin. The purpose behind its creation was to solve the problem of ‘double-spending’ and allowing public transactions without a central authority. Now, blockchain is used in many other applications across various departments in an organization or in different industries, even other than finance ones.

DApps, or Blockchain applications are efficient and secure. They provide a multitude of opportunities beyond finance. It can be used in logistics, patient medical records, supply chain, and many other sectors that require transparency, shareability, and traceability of data.  

Blockchain records data and all transactions for everyone to view. For data to change, it must require alteration of all blocks, which makes it almost impossible to modify data.

For a better understanding, blockchain technology is highlighted by the following features:

Decentralization

Data in a blockchain is not stored in a central location. Rather, it is stored across the entire network. In other words, there is no central authority to control the entire data across a blockchain-powered network.

Distributed Ledger

It is a synchronized database that can be accessed from different locations by a number of participants. Each computer in the distributed ledger system has a copy of the ledger to ensure transparency and avoid a Single Point of Failure (SPOF).

Immutable Record

All the blockchain networks follow a specific protocol to validate new blocks. After they are registered, data in the block cannot be altered without changing the following blocks, which needs consent from the network itself.

Source: insuranceblog.accenture.com

Fintech

Fintech or Financial Technology is a new industry that deploys technology for improving financial activities for the public. This new approach is here to disrupt conventional financial services. Fintech includes both startups and financial institutes. It aims to create new applications, products, business models, and processes to enhance existing financial services.

Traditional financial services by banks and governments generally look down up at fintech because it is hard to regulate it without a complete understanding, which can take a lot of time.

Fintech projects redefine business models and drive them towards efficiency and security. Some fintech applications include peer-to-peer lending,RFID tags, stock trading websites and apps, budgeting tools, and algorithm-based portfolio advisor services.

Some Fintech examples include peer-to-peer lending, stock trading websites and apps, advisor services based on algorithms, budgeting tools, and personal finance management. Fintech has four user categories, i.e., business to business for bank clients, business to business for banks, business to client for consumers, and business to client for small businesses.

Fintech organizations are making payment processes easier, reducing fraud, promoting financial planning, and helping save money. However, it is important to note that the financial sector has conventionally been predominated by large firms – such as big banks – that often show resistance to change. Overcoming this challenge and adopting new financial technologies will require a lot of work.

Source: tutorials.one

Blockchain and Fintech Coming Together

Fintech based on blockchain can prove to be the next revolution in the financial services industry. It will more likely add transparency, remove the middle man, and make transactions more secure. Blockchain in fintech can help make banking services more efficient and seamless. It can minimize bureaucracy in conventional banking system and also help in reducing costs. This will benefit both the customers and the financial institutions.

Blockchain technology provides assistance in data breaking management and stopping other fraudulent activities. This enables fintech businesses to transfer and share unaltered and secure data through a decentralized network. This will help to make financial data more secure and track, understand, and audit decisions of AI in a better manner. This in turn will provide the transparency level that is required for people to trust intelligence driven by machines.

Furthermore, Decentralized Finance or DeFi utilizes the concept of creating decentralized smart contracts using blockchain technology. Many financial giants have started to invest in research and development of DeFi for their businesses. This phenomenon further strengthens the fact that blockchain and finance companies actually greatly complement each other, and can together bring more success to any application where applied.

Blockchain technology can also help to eradicate shady tactics of the stock market including commissions of intermediaries, stock tampering, and processing charges and time.

It is expected that by 2028, the fintech blockchain market will reach a value of $36.04 billion. DeFi will become an evolving technology that will greatly reduce the control of banks on money and financial services. Moreover, digital ledgers will also gradually transform the way we send, receive, manage, and store our money. 

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is a breakthrough for digital transactions, whether financial or data exchange. It enables secure, faster transactions with no chance of data alteration.

Fintech, on the other hand, is a breakthrough for financial services. Its most mentionable application is the disruption of bank services as it reduces that final cost as well as the time taken in money exchange.

Both technologies are advancing very fast, and both provide convenience to the end user, i.e., the customer. 

Top CRM Software to Increase Profits and Business Visibility

Entrepreneurs consider various factors when starting a business, including business plans, products, funding, and accounting. Nevertheless, a CRM system is the furthest thing from their thoughts. How come? What is the objective of CRM software for businesses? What are the top CRM software options for small businesses?

In this CRM guide, we’ll address each of these points.

What Is Small Business Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software?

Customer relationship management (CRM) is an abbreviation. CRM software consists of various features that assist entrepreneurs in managing customer communication and improving the customer experience.

Source: pinterest.com

What advantages come with using a CRM system?

We began the article by posing the question of why so many entrepreneurs overlook CRM software. It occurs due to a small business’s inability to manage a large amount of data. When you first begin, you will have a limited number of customers and contacts.

Thus, keeping track of clients’ names and preferences on a single computer or even notebook is as simple as using a single email address.

Nonetheless, as a small business grows, the number of customers increases, and a few employees become a large team. Finding software capable of storing data and granting access to many employees becomes necessary.

Is Customer Relationship Management Software Vulnerable?

The CRM system is no exception. CRM software is prohibitively expensive for small businesses. Also, if you find a cheap option, check for hidden fees. Hidden costs include maintenance, data backups, system administrators, and software developers.

CRM programs, like all programs, can fail. In this case, all records will be lost, negatively impacting your business. Small business CRM software should also be easy to use. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend a lot of time training employees.

Functionality of CRM

CRM software integrates various functions that simplify small business operations. The following is a list of critical tasks that a small business’s best CRM should perform:

●  Build communication. Email is sent and received via CRM. Email and social media bots are available. The more options for communication, the more loyal and satisfied clients are. Consider a customer who prefers WhatsApp to Gmail. Enabling WhatsApp instead of Gmail can earn them loyalty.

●  Organize contact information consistently. It is vital to keep all customer data in one place. A client contacting you should not repeat basic information such as name, phone number, or email address. Deuxièmement, CRM software keeps track of previous conversations and who spoke with a customer. In the event of a problem, this saved data helps resolve it. This feature is handy for sales-based businesses. The stored data unifies the team, improving sales efficiency.

●  Prioritize. It is vital for any business, but especially for freelancers. CRM software allows you to assign tasks to employees and track their progress. It is easier to work when your employees are located worldwide. This feature can also help generate sales reports. There’s also a deal-tracking feature.

●  Internal communication should be coordinated. CRM software makes monitoring how your teams communicate with one another much easier. Additionally, you can send emails within CRM to consolidate customer and employee conversations.

●  Organize employee reports. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform enables you to manage employee tasks and generate financial reports. Because you are using the same system, you can see how many studies your employee has, their success rate, and their earnings.

Source: sweeetprocess.com

Added Functions:

●  Segment your customer base. Although it isn’t essential, it can be helpful. You can segment your contacts based on various criteria that will benefit your small business.

●  Send email templates. CRM software should enable the creation of templates and the sending of scheduled emails. Additionally, you can receive notifications when an email is delivered and read.

●  Evaluate customer strategies. CRM software stores all of the customer data necessary to define customer behavior. You can monitor a customer’s activity and feedback via CRM. This information will enable you to develop strategies for your business’s growth. Additionally, sales forecasting is possible.

●  Increase the profitability of the business. Naturally, CRM cannot increase your company’s profitability on its own. However, each of the functions listed above contributes to your small business’s effectiveness. This CRM enables you to create financial reports and track your revenue.

Source: light-it.net

What Factors Influence the Selection of the Best CRM for Small Businesses?

We’ve defined the functions that a good CRM software should have. Consider additional criteria that define a good CRM system capable of bringing disparate departments together to provide superior customer service. Here are the factors for choosing the best CRM for small business:

●  The interface is simple to use. It is not your system if a CRM system is overly complex and requires extensive employee training. CRM software can use daily; therefore, it should be simple.

●  A system that is hosted in the cloud. In the world of freelance, data should be accessible from any location. That’s why the best CRM is cloud-based, allowing employees to access real-time data from any device, anywhere.

●  Implementation is rapid. If you spend hours manually entering customer information into a database, that CRM isn’t for you. Adding data from email or import lists should be possible with a single click.

●  Updates are performed automatically. When your business is small, you likely have a limited number of clients and partners; you can manually update their information. However, what if your enterprise is large? Will you be updating the personal information of thousands of people?

●  Management of funnels. It’s ideal if you can track your customer’s every move.

●  Price. You’d think we’d say good CRM software is expensive, but we won’t. To begin, if a free trial version is available, you should download it. A demo version lets you test the CRM’s functionality. Also, the functions of CRM systems vary significantly in price. Choose the best one for you and only buy it if it helps your business grow.

Choosing a Customer Relationship Management System

We’ve compiled a list of critical points to consider when selecting the right CRM system for your business.

1. Budget. Before purchasing CRM software, you should determine your budget. As mentioned previously, there are free CRM versions available. Nonetheless, some of them cost upwards of $200. If you know the price range you’re willing to pay, you can narrow down the vast array of CRM options.

2. Expected Features. Before selecting a CRM system, it is critical to understand what you expect from it. Create a list of the CRM features, and choosing the right option will become much more manageable. When creating a list, consider your requirements and solicit feedback from the employees who will use the CRM, as they may add or remove features that you considered.

3. Consult with other businesses. It’s worthwhile to solicit referrals from firms in the same industry, as they are familiar with the business’s requirements.

4. Keep a record of helpful information. One recommendation is to track down the features of the CRM software you are contemplating; this prevents the loss of critical information and simplifies the comparison process.

5. Examine the available options. The market is ever-changing. Because new technologies help develop CRM systems, it’s worth researching before buying CRM software. Examine reviews on unrelated websites. Otherwise, you risk reading an excellent study that misses the mark.

6. Utilize a free trial period. Most CRMs provide a free trial. Select several options that best fit your business based on their descriptions and determine whether the CRM meets all of your requirements.

Source: quora.com

The Best Customer Relationship Management Systems for Small Businesses

It is impossible to compile a comprehensive list of CRM platforms. But these are the best CRM systems for small businesses. Compare the features of each option to decide which is best for you.

1. Keap

It is a simple CRM for busy business owners. If you’ve used another CRM, Keap can import your data. The Keap plan includes coaching and educational materials to help you quickly set up the system.

Keap has a range of plans with varying levels of features. Basic CRM tools for small businesses include lead generation, client billing, and contact management. You can customize Keap CRM to meet your specific needs. You can schedule emails to clients, customize dashboards, and report on team performance. Keap lacks a free plan to evaluate its capabilities.

2. Zoho CRM.

This CRM software is ideal for small businesses with remote workers. You can use the CRM on your phone without sacrificing any features. Real-time data keeps users informed. The app can also edit data without internet access. Set reminders, send emails, add new clients, attach audio files and comments, make calls, and update deal status.

Zoho CRM is not only affordable, but it also includes all the features a startup needs to provide quality services. The free plan, however, does not allow users to test all CRM features. Top-tier plans allow prediction and AI tool use.

3. HubSpot CRM.

This CRM solution handles sales, marketing, and content. One of the most significant benefits is the unlimited free plan. It is vital to avoid the CRM solution stifling the company’s growth. The free plan includes CRM, sales, email marketing, and customer service tools. Despite its many advantages, CRM has flaws, such as a lack of support for lower-tier plans.

Source: g2.com

4. Bitrix24

This CRM system is built for marketing and sales teams. The number of groups is limitless, and document storage is central. The free plan limits users to 12 and storage to 5 GB. While it is adequate for small businesses, you should consider upgrading or switching CRM software as your company grows. Choosing the right CRM plan can be difficult. No matter how many people you have, this plan can accommodate them.

5. SugarCRM

A complete sales, marketing, and customer service solution automates business processes and manages client communications. There is customer service and a user community for small businesses. Unlike other CRM systems, this one requires ten people. The CRM may appear complex at first and mastering it will take time.

The CRM has several plans, each with a free trial to check if the platform is for you.

6. Pipedrive.

Pipedrive is a great CRM platform for small businesses. Multi-pipeline management with customizable product and service parameters. Customizing data fields is also possible. The software generates reminders and notifications to help you declutter your mind. The platform is easy to use. So integrating it into your business processes is quick.

It generally migrates from one CRM to another as your business grows because upgrading most small business CRMs is prohibitively expensive. Buying a new system for a larger company is more cost-effective.

Conclusion

CRM software is vital to every business’s success. The platform should aid team members in resolving internal workplace conflicts and establishing productive client communication. Since CRMs vary in features, problems they solve, and pricing, it is critical to define the CRM expectations for your startup.

Once you’ve established your platform’s objectives, you’ll be able to identify the best platform for you.

CRM is not the only platform to consider when starting a new business. Additionally, automating the accounting process is beneficial.

CRM allows businesses to align their strategy with the needs of their customers, ensuring that all those demands are fulfilled to the best of their ability and process customer loyalty.

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Jennysis Lajom is an IT graduate, a chemist, an eCommerce business owner, and a Korean drama fan. Her passion for digital marketing led her to a career in graphic design, editing, and social media marketing. She is also one of the resident SEO writers in the Softvire US and Softvire Australia.

How to Make Basic Visualizations in Python with Coding

As we know it, data has evolved over the years in complexity. Many organizations and business owners have had a significant role in data collection and analysis.

According to Shift Disruptive Learning, our brain cannot take in much text data. This is because it processes 60,000 times more visualizations than texts. 

One interesting fact is that 90% of the information we transmit in our brain is visual.

In our daily lives, we find ourselves entering data into our spreadsheets. Analyzing and visualizing data is usually the best part of the work.

Entering too many complex texts into our personal computers can be a tiresome task. That is why knowing data visualization is essential.

Visualizing data is an essential role in statistics because you allow others to recognize the crucial points in your data.

In this blog, we will learn in detail about visualizations in Python. The objective is to cover how we can make appealing charts in Python programming.

Let us briefly learn about data visualization in the next step.

Source: kdnuggets.com

What is Data Visualization?

In brief, data visualization is changing data into visual form. The objective is to make your data simple to read and interpret.

Data visualization is essential as it helps you depict various data forms into simple graphs.

Let us look at some other reasons why data visualization is essential:

You can use it to present information to others. 

Your objective is to make others understand your data. You can communicate to your audience the reasons behind particular logical reasoning.

Summarize large data sets

When you present your extensive data in the graphical form it makes it easy to summarize essential insights.

Visualizing data can help decision-makers make conclusions from big data sets.

Allows you to find solutions

One of the advantages of data visualization is that it helps you seek solutions. You can investigate information to find existing outliers and relationships in your data.

Let us examine one of the programming languages in our computers we can use for data visualization.

Source: bi4all.pt

What is Python?

Python is one of the programming languages – you can use it to create websites and perform data visualization and analysis.

When you use Python, you will learn that you can use it for general purposes. You cannot use the programming language for any particular commands.

Why Use Python in Data Visualization?

When you use Python in visualizing your data, it will offer you numerous graphing libraries.

If you are interested in creating high-quality plots, Python will support you with customizations. You can make many types of charts with Python.

Python is one of those programming languages with many in-built modules. A large community also supports the program.

Visualizations in Python can seem complicated, but they are easy. It does not matter if you are a beginner, you can easily create visualizations in Python even if you are not a computer guru.

The question is, how do we create data visualization in Python?

As we have briefly explained, Python has numerous visualization tools. You can make impressive charts with Python using its libraries. Each python library has its unique visualization styles depending on the visualization form.

Source: datasciencedj.blogspot.com

Data Visualization Tools in Python

Let us start with the most popular:

Matplotlib

Matplotlib is among the first data visualization tools in Python.

This data visualization tool in Python is used widely by most people. If you are lucky to be a data scientist, you may have used it once in your visualizations.

The remarkable aspect of Matplotlib is that you can use it with other libraries. Such libraries include Pandas and NumPy.

Matplotlib allows you to design charts in Python that are dynamic and interactive. When you use it to create charts in Python, you will realize that it is a flexible tool.

If you have used MATLAB before, it has similar features to Matplotlib.

The advantage of using Matplotlib is that the library has many aspects of color and size. This aspect helps you make remarkable charts with Python.

Let us see how we can create a Bar Chart with Python’s Matplotlib.

Creating a Bar Chart with Python

In this section, let us use a practical example of how we can create a chart in Python using Matplotlib.

A bar chart represents values in vertical or horizontal bars. When you use Matplotlib in making bar charts in Python, it becomes easy and efficient. 

Source: Python Spot

Seaborn

This type of python data visualization library is also popular among many users. You can use it to make appealing visualizations in Python for studying data.

With Seaborn, you can make chart visualization in Python a crucial component of your data analysis. 

Seaborn library contains visual diagrams such as scatter plots and histograms. You can use these charts for the visualization of data.

Seaborn also has its internal procedures for statistical analysis. This feature can aid you in making the charts of your choice.

One significant advantage of using Seaborn is that it allows straightforward data representation on plots.

Making a Scatter Plot Using Seaborn

You can use a scatter plot chart to plot points on a horizontal or vertical axis. It shows the relationship between two variables.

Source: PyData

Learn more on how to make a scatter plot chart in Python.

Last but not least, let us examine more visualizations in Python.

Ggplot

You can use this visual library to create charts in Python, such as error charts and histograms. 

The visualization package allows you to use various data visualization components. You can use such elements in a precise visualization.

When you indicate on Ggplot what to include in your chart, the visual tool will do the rest.

The advantage of using Ggplot is that it gives you more time to analyze the data. Ggplot will do much of the designing than studying.

The plotting technique of Ggplot is usually straightforward. This is because it avoids data visualization complexities.

Learn how to make a pie chart using Ggplot in this section.

Source: r-charts.com

Wrap Up

As we have seen, you can design data visualizations outside of spreadsheet tools – Python comes with many libraries that can help you visualize your charts.

As a business professional, you can use such knowledge to create appealing visuals in your data stories.

We have shown you how to do visualizations in Python without coding. Although we have not covered all of them, the ones above are widely used by most people.

Do not miss out on making visualization charts in Python – install the programming language on your PC and embark on this fantastic adventure.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud Learning in Improving Access to Educational Resources

Cloud learning is a relatively new form of education that has been growing in popularity in recent years. Proponents of cloud learning argue that it has several benefits over traditional educational models, including improved access to educational resources and greater flexibility for students. However, there are also several drawbacks to cloud learning, including concerns about data security and the reliability of internet connections.

Despite these drawbacks, the benefits of cloud learning are significant enough that it is likely to continue to grow in popularity in the years to come. Students who are interested in pursuing higher education should consider whether cloud learning is the right fit for them, and if not, traditional educational institutions will continue to be an option.

Source: vecteezy.com

What is Cloud Learning?

Cloud learning is a type of education that uses internet-based resources to provide students with access to course materials and instructional content. Rather than attending classes in person, students in cloud learning courses typically access their coursework online, through a computer or mobile device.

How is Cloud Learning Used in Education?

There are a few different ways that cloud learning can be used in education. One common use is for online courses, which are becoming increasingly popular as more and more students seek out flexible and convenient educational options.

Online courses typically make use of video lectures, readings, and other course materials that are posted online, and students can access these materials at any time that is convenient for them.

Another common use for cloud learning is in flipped classrooms. In a flipped classroom, students watch video lectures or read texts at home, and then come to class to discuss the material with their classmates and teachers. This type of learning is effective in helping students learn complex concepts.

Source: flexlearnstrategies.net

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Learning

Cloud learning has several advantages over traditional educational models. One of the most significant benefits is that it can improve access to educational resources. Students who take advantage of cloud learning can often find and use a wider range of resources than those who are limited to the resources available at their local library or bookstore.

However, it has disadvantages too. The lack of interpersonal communication while delivering practical lessons with onsite applications can be challenging for both students and educators. Below are the most common advantages and disadvantages of cloud learning in delivering quality educational sources.

What are the Benefits of Cloud Learning?

Cloud learning is more affordable than traditional education.

Cloud learning can help you save on costs like tuition and textbooks. Plus, it’s more flexible than traditional education, so you can learn on your schedule. You save time, gas, and other resources as you study in the comfort of your home.

It is more flexible and convenient for students.

Study when you can at a convenient place or time you prefer. You’re not tied to a physical location, so you can study from anywhere with an internet connection.

It offers more diverse resources than traditional education.

Cloud learning gives you access to a wider range of resources than what’s available in your local library or bookstore. You can find online lectures, readings, and other course materials from around the world.

Cloud learning can improve access to educational resources.

One of the most significant benefits of cloud learning is that it can improve access to educational resources. Students who take advantage of cloud learning can often find and use a wider range of resources than those who are limited to the resources available at their local library or bookstore.

Source: istockphoto.com

Promotes collaboration between students and educators.

Another advantage of cloud learning is that it can promote collaboration between students and educators. Because cloud learning courses are typically asynchronous, meaning that students and instructors do not have to be online at the same time, they can easily collaborate on projects and assignments.

Cloud learning sessions are versatile

Cloud learning can be used in a variety of settings, including K-12 classrooms, universities, and corporate training programs.

What are the Disadvantages of Cloud Learning?

It can be challenging to stay motivated when you’re learning on your own.

When you’re not in a traditional classroom setting, it can be easy to get distracted or lose motivation. It’s important to set goals and create a study schedule to help you stay on track.

It can be difficult to find trustworthy sources.

Because anyone can post information online, it’s important to be careful about the sources you use for your studies. Double check if your resources are trustworthy resources for your industry.

Lack of complete access to education resources.

While cloud learning gives you access to a wide range of resources, you might not have access to everything you need for your studies. If you’re taking an online course, for example, you might not have access to a laboratory or other on-campus facilities.

It can be isolating.

One of the disadvantages of cloud learning is that it can be isolating. You might not have the opportunity to interact with other students or instructors in person. Get help from a classmate or a professor for concepts you find hard to understand.

Source: virtualtechgurus.com

How to Make Cloud Learning Work for You

If you’re interested in cloud learning, there are a few things you can do to make sure it’s a positive experience for you.

Find a reputable source

When you’re looking for information online, make sure you’re getting your information from a reputable source. Check the author’s credentials and look for reviews of the material before you use it for your studies.

Create a study schedule.

To stay motivated, it’s important to create a study schedule and set goals for your studies. Decide how much time you’re going to spend studying each day or week, and make sure you stick to your plan.

Take advantage of resources.

One of the benefits of cloud learning is that you have access to a wide range of resources. If you’re taking an online course, for example, take advantage of the lectures, readings, and other materials that are available to you.

Source: ericsson.com

Interact with other students.

If you’re feeling isolated, reach out to other students in your course or your field of study. You can connect with other students online or in person.

Cloud learning is more affordable than traditional education. Although it has its disadvantages, the benefits outweigh what it lacks. Plus, you’ll get access to high-quality education without the high price tag.

What is Visual Search?

As per a statistical report, 62% of millennials and Gen Z would use visual search over all other search methods.

Before we dive into the best practices, let’s see what Visual Search is and the best practices to implement one, if you haven’t already.

Source: fullestop.com

What is Visual Search?

Visual Search exploits Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help people perform their search by means of the real-world imagery rather than text search.

For example, if a person takes a photo of an object by Google Lens for example, teh software can identify the object within the image and provides feedback and details about it to the user.

This technology is especially useful to retail and eCommerce businesses — if you implement well-optimized content, you can stand a chance of being the returned search result for a user.

Such an approach will result in attracting more users and increased profit.

Source: analyticsinsight.net

How does Visual Search differ from Image Search?

Visual Search involves searching for the specific item via text, voice and vision — it belongs to a category known as ‘sensory search’.

Both visual and image search are based on imagery but there is an important difference — for image search, people still use words while for visual search, users can utilize an image to handle the same search.

Image search has been present for a long time, nearly 20 years — Google introduced this search format back in 2001 due to the inability of a search engine to cope with all the searches of Jeniffer Lopez and the green dress she wore on Grammy Awards back in 2000.

Visual Search works with a combination of Computer Vision and Machine Learning.

Computer Vision helps machines to interpret what they ‘see’ before deciding what to do with the information.

Computer vision has been present for a long time but with the progress of Machine Learning it became more advanced.

Machine Learning brings details that Computer Vision needs to understand better what is on the image.

Google lens, with help of this technology, cross-referenced the details with Google Knowledge Graph.

Source: youtube.com/h&m

The Biggest Platforms in Visual Search

Google and Bing visual search are mainly used for information retrieval alongside shopping while each of the major visual search platforms offer slightly different search options.

Pinterest Lens

Pinterest Lens was introduced in 2017 and already in 2019, they announced that the technology is able to recognize over 2.5 billion items.

With Pinterest Lens, users can submit images of almost anything and the platform can save the or shop the object on the photo. Pinterest stated that 90% of users’ purchasing decisions were enabled via the information gathered through this technology.

Clothes retailers can post ‘shop by look’ pins so that users may identify or search for garments within a certain image.

The engine can also find similar items to recommend to users in case a user decides that they do not want the exact product but would like something else similar to the original one.

Google Lens

Google Lens was launched back in 2017 and due to its advanced visual search abilities, it quickly became the most popular visual search platform.

In the following year, Google Lens was integrated with Google Image Search and in 2019, a study was published stating that their image recognition technology was more accurate than other similar platforms.

Google Lens technology is present in many Android applications like Photos, Google Assistant and Google Search.

The capabilities to combine multiple apps gives Google Lens a head start over the other similar engines — for example, if a user takes a photo of a sign in a foreign language via Google Lens, it can instruct Google Translate app to provide a translation in their own language.

Source: selesti.com

Bing Visual Search

Bing Visual Search is a bit different as it provides users with both information and products, similar to Bing search engine. It provides users with related items and pricing details.

Bing works similarly to other visual search engines and it has an extensive developer platform.

For example, if Bing guides a user to a particular item on your website, a developer has the ability to define the actions that will be offered to the user.

Source: mspoweruser.com

Amazon StyleSnap

Amazon’s visual search app was announced in June 2019 — it allows users to take photos of objects or products using this function within Amazon’s mobile app and then users are provided with the relevant details and similar items.

Amazon StyleSnap has already been working with Instagram platform for creating an integrated shopping experience for its users.

This technology is very useful for companies that sell on Amazon as they can get their products in front of consumers in an already competitive market.

Developers are also given the opportunity to read the latest guides for implementing StyleSnap.

Source: newsroom.snap.com

Snapchat Camera Search

Snapchat announced their Camera Search in September 2018 inviting users to search for products on Amazon via their app.

It works in a way that the app recognizes a barcode and then an Amazon card is provided to a user offering a link to a specific product or selection of similar products from their store. If the user has their app, they can click on the app and will be directly led to the wanted page.

Unfortunately, Snapchat did not post any latest updates or additional features, but you can read more about their AR and other features in their help guide.

Visual Search Best Practices

There are numerous benefits if implemented visual search but we will talk about these in one of the future articles.

Let’s check the best practices that websites should stick to so to appear in visual search:

Use Structured Data

One of the most important things is to provide as much information as possible to search engines, when adding any kind of content to your website.

The best is to use structured data for images as it can help your website to appear in Google rich snippets.

There are general structured data guidelines in Google for you to learn more about but also the type of structured markup that you can also add.

Add Alternative Text

Alternative texts are also known as ‘alt tags’ or ‘alt descriptions’ — it appears in place of an image in case it fails to load on the screen.

Alternative text is ‘read’ by search engines to help understand the meaning of the image. Users that use screen readers would also need alt text to understand the context of the photo. Alternative text should be authentic, concise and well written.

For example, if your image shows a man holding a red cup of coffee, your alternative text may sound like this: ‘Young man holds a red cup of coffee at home’ or in more details.

Source: moz.com

Use Descriptive Filenames

A popular phrase today says: Context is everything.

Majority of image files are commonly named like this: ‘IMG 12345.JPG’ but you should try better and provide as many details as you can.

If we follow the above example, instead of using such an impersonal name, rename it to: ‘man-with-red-cup-of-coffee.jpg’.

Although it is difficult, try to provide a unique filename to that image besides being clear and concise.

Have an Image Sitemap

If you provide an image sitemap, you can increase a chance for your images to be discovered by search engines. This is especially useful if you have Javascript loaded images.

If you provide an image sitemap, Google will easily identify, crawl and index your images.

Source: mural.co

Use Suitable Image Size and File Type

Having optimization of your content in mind, it is important to use the appropriate file size of images as it can affect the loading time of your site for your users. A site with slow loading speed can trigger users to leave your site.

There are some sites which are excellent for compressing images like: TinyPNG, CompressNow, Optimizilla and more.

Besides file size, pay attention to the type of files you use on your website. For example, Google Images supports the following file types:

  • Bmp
  • Gif
  • Jpeg
  • Png
  • WebP
  • SVG

Each file type has its pros and cons, where for example GIFs may not be suitable for some commercial websites.

Other Elements

The above listed recommendations relate only to images, but you should consider the other elements like SEO and other associated items to appear in visual search results:

  • Overall site speed
  • Overall site performance
  • Your site’s accessibility
  • Quality of images
  • Originality of the content and the images

FINAL WORD

Today’s technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can help provide users with sensory search in all its forms.

As major search platforms push the boundaries of search features, it is vital for marketers and website owners to make plans for the future search options.

Keep in mind that younger internet users will expect such features so try to decide which approach can be the best for your business to follow.