Artificial Intelligence is Going to Help You Work Smarter

Humankind has been fascinated with the concept of helpfully intelligent machines making life easier for many years. While we may still be many years away from the likes of Josie from The Jetsons or J.A.R.V.I.S. and F.R.I.D.A.Y., Iron Man’s digital super-assistants, artificial intelligence is a very real thing, with real benefits for businesses even today.

Understanding A.I. and Its Importance
As one might imagine, there is a massive amount of data in the world for machines and people alike to leverage. In the future, this will help to someday replace the human workforce with artificially intelligent, tireless machines. Nowadays, A.I. is leveraged as a means of boosting the technology that we rely on already, improving the solutions and applications that shape our world.

Those at the forefront of technology today have evangelized in support of using artificial intelligence to benefit humanity. What’s stopping them? Simple: humanity itself.

Looking at the economics of artificial intelligence in business, it only makes sense that a business would sooner turn to an automated machine than a human worker. The machine doesn’t need to take any time off, it doesn’t need a 401k and health benefits, it doesn’t even need to be paid. Therefore, despite the ill will that the public feels against businesses that replace human employees with machines, it just makes more sense from a business standpoint to minimize long-term expenses and boost profitability by replacing a staff with a server room if possible.

Studies have estimated that it is possible that, by 2033, 47 percent of jobs could be foreseeably automated – a mere 15 years from now. In 2016, another report found that nine percent of workers were superfluous, and another estimated that more than 800 of the world’s largest businesses will be substituting A.I. for anywhere between four and seven percent of their employees.

A.I. Isn’t All Doom and Gloom
Despite these grim statistics, A.I. is also already improving lives and simply making things more convenient. When did you last Google something? That was a time that you benefited from A.I., just like the last time your email’s spam folder caught something before you could click on it. Even small businesses are now able to leverage basic applications of artificial intelligence to improve their business standing. For instance:

Customer Service – Customer service is no easy job, which is why it is so easy for an employee with these kinds of responsibilities to burn out and leave you in a worse place with your customers. By relieving an employee of many of the rote tasks that customer service requires, A.I. and automation can improve customer experience and retention.
Marketing – A small business needs its marketing to be cost-efficient and highly targeted in order to be successful. A marketing platform that leverages A.I. can provide the insights to optimize the business’ marketing strategy.
Operations – Automation can also cut down on redundancies, and by integrating it with an enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management platform, your business can become even more efficient.

 

This Week’s Tech Term: Blockchain

As one of the most important emerging technologies out there at the moment, speculation about blockchain, and its growing list of practical applications, has run rampant. Soon, someone will come out with a blockchain application that makes and delivers pizzas. In all seriousness, it really holds a lot of promise for the development of interesting applications. For this week’s tech term, we look at the blockchain.

What is the Blockchain?
In the public eye, blockchain has almost exclusively been associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s true that blockchain technology is at the core of cryptocurrency, but it is much more. It is essentially a combination of three technologies that have been around for a while. They are:

 

Private key cryptography
Distributed network ledger
The incentivization of that network’s transactions, record keeping, and security

Since these technologies have been around for some time, pairing them together to make another, more dynamic technology seems like it would be advantageous for maintaining a ledger system that has a secure digital identity reference. Essentially, that’s what blockchain produces.

The main benefit of having a distributed network is that it provides multiple unquestionable validators for any transaction. If a transaction is in the blockchain, it absolutely happened, and, by the use of encryption, users of the blockchain know that no data could have been altered. Any attempt at altering information (in what is called a node) would create its own link in the blockchain; or invalidate the blockchain entirely. The more transactions on the network, the more verifications take place, and the more secure the transaction is.

What to Expect Out of Blockchain?
As was mentioned earlier, there are a lot of potential uses for blockchain technology. These applications will be dictated by the technology’s core features. Obviously, cryptocurrency utilizes blockchain to provide a secure transfer of monetary funds for users. As this technology advances and begins to be leveraged by multinational banking institutions (that are currently investing heavily in blockchain R&D), and nation-states, it may change the way that people around the globe view currency.

Other uses include:

Improve equity management and transfer
Failproof authentication
Provide smart contracts
Error-proof recordkeeping
Improve cybersecurity
Reduce inefficiencies in any number of industries
Eliminate election fraud

While it may not be the easiest technology to understand, the applications of it are numerous and could change the world we live in innumerable ways.

 

Is Your Printer Wasting More Money Than it’s Worth?

Is your printer printing dollars, or eating them? Today’s blog is dedicated toward helping your business save as much money as possible on printing costs so that you can achieve the best return on your printing investment.

It all starts by calculating just how much each individual page costs your organization.

Why Cost-Per-Page is So Important
A printer has plenty of operating costs associated with it, including the costs of both ink and paper. Ink is distributed in ink cartridges, and these need to be replaced from time to time. These cartridges are certainly not cheap, either. Depending on the type of printer you use and the types of documents you are printing, you may require even more ink than normal.

The cost-per-page, or CPP, is important to keep in mind so that you know just how much you are spending every day. If there is a heavy loss per page, you’ll wind up spending more on your printing solutions than you’re getting back for them.

How to Calculate Your Average Cost-Per-Page
The calculation for CPP is pretty simple, all things considered. All you do is divide the price of the cartridge by the cartridge yield rating–approximately how many pages the cartridge can print. You’ll find this number on the cartridge’s packaging. Let’s say that you spend $25 on a cartridge of black ink with a yield of 525 pages. You can plug this into the calculation like this:

25/525 = 0.048

This cost in this case is about 5 cents per page.

Calculating CPP in More Complicated Printers
Ink cartridges can add extra steps into this calculation, especially if they are of different colors and configurations. Each individual cartridge has a different color (black, cyan, yellow, and magenta) or two cartridges that cover them all (black and cyan, yellow, magenta). Either way, the calculation will come out mostly the same, with only a few minor adjustments to how the colors are collected together.

When you are adding colors into the calculation, you’ll need to use the CPP of each individual color and add it to your total. It’s worth mentioning that printing in color is going to cost more than if you were just printing with black ink.

Plus, keep in mind that ink manufacturers will often base their yield rating on the standardized documents used by businesses. These calculations include the fact that documents will be covered in ink to a certain degree. Thus, printing documents that don’t adhere to these definitions can throw off how many pages you actually get from the cartridge. In other words, it’s an average. We’ve found that it doesn’t hurt to round up, because ink manufacturers want the numbers to work in their favor.

Controlling Your Printing
If you can calculate how much you actually stand to benefit from your printing, you can set standards that allow you to control how much printed material is actually circulated around your office. There are technologies that if implemented can help you save money on your printing solutions. This can include setting up quotas and reports so you can see if certain individuals need to cut back on printing materials, and a way to ensure that they do.

 

Tech Term: Routers, Defined

With businesses relying more and more on portability and mobility, it should come as no surprise that businesses also have to devote more time to the proper management of their wireless network. A considerable portion of this management is reliant on the router the business uses, as without the router, the business simply couldn’t have a wireless connection.

For this week’s tech term, we’ll discuss the router in a little more depth.

What is a Router, Anyway?
The router got its start almost 50 years ago, developed under the name ‘Interface Message Processor’ by BBN at the end of the 1960s. Since then, routers have increased in utility, now serving to enable the user to communicate through a variety of different means – including data, video, and voice.

The router, or Interface Message Processor, was initially created to be used on the Internet’s predecessor, the ARPAnet. After years of development, Bill Yeager created the code that enabled the first multi-protocol router, which in turn led to the development of the first Local Area Network, or LAN, by Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner. This pair would go on to create Cisco Systems in 1984. Cisco has since grown to become the largest networking company anywhere in the world.

What Does a Router Do?
To greatly simplify the responsibilities of the router, it helps to imagine them as the exchange tubes that banks and credit unions use in their drive-thru, and the funds they transport as the data that is exchanged through the router’s activity. The vacuum tube serves as the go-between between you in your car and the teller inside the bank, allowing you to communicate and exchange information.

Your router serves a very similar purpose to your network as the vacuum tube does to the bank, as your router establishes a connection between you and the Internet. Routers provide the connection between the Internet (or more literally, your Internet modem) and your devices. While many routers are described as wireless, this isn’t completely accurate. Any router will typically require a pair of connections – one to a power source, and the other to the modem.

How Does a Router Really Work?
Assuming that the necessary wires are properly connected, your router will send a signal out to the rest of your devices so they can connect to the Internet. These signals will usually reach anywhere between 90 to 300 meters away, depending on the power of the router. Any device with a Wi-Fi connection built into it will connect, assuming that it has the proper credentials to do so. This number of devices will only grow as more consumer goods, like fitness wearables and other ‘smart’ accessories, are granted the ability to access the Internet as a part of their function.

At the very least, you will need to account for these connections when selecting a router. You should also do some research and identify any features that may be of particular use to you.

Some Options and Features
As is the case with any other piece of technology, a router gets better with every additional feature and capability it has. Routers are now able to leverage assorted features and capabilities that improve both their function, and their security.

Dual-band Wi-Fi – Since there are so many devices using the 2.4GHz frequency, now many wireless routers come with dual bands (2.4GHz and 5Ghz).
Wireless On/Off Toggle – For ease of use, having a dedicated on/off switch on the device is always practical.
Detachable Antennas – Today, a lot of the routers you’ll see don’t have external antennas, but if you can find a model with them, they will provide more coverage to your Wi-Fi connection – and can even be upgraded!
IPv6 Support – IPv4 addresses have been exhausted for some time, so every router you plan to have for a while has to support IPv6.

Kite Technology has technicians on staff that can help you build a successful wireless network. For more information, call us today at 855-290-KITE.

 

Taking a Closer Look at Nanotechnology

Over time, we’ve seen technology be developed into smaller and smaller sizes. One of the most notable examples of this is the computer. Computers used to be so large that they would take up the whole room, but nowadays, thanks to the developments in technology manufacturing, they take up a fraction of the space that they did not so long ago. What’s even more amazing is that this development has simultaneously increased performance while making technology take up a considerably smaller amount of space.

What is Nanotechnology?
The actual meaning of nanotechnology can be seen by analyzing the specific parts of the word. The prefix nano means “one billionth,” which is derived from the Latin nanus, or “dwarf.” Technology isn’t a unit of measure, but nano in this context means that the technology will be measured in terms of nanometers. For reference, a strand of DNA is about two nanometers in diameter. Nanotechnology is typically used to describe technology that is somewhere between one and one-hundred nanometers.

Nanotechnology, due to its size, operates on a different set of physics than the majority of the world does. As a result, major changes can happen without it being realized.

Why This Technology Isn’t More Popular
Despite the many potential uses of nanotechnology, there are major challenges that the “technology” faces. According to Dr. George Tulevski, a researcher at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Laboratory, nanotechnology development has slowed considerably since the major advancements made in the 1980s.

Tulevski believes that progress can be resumed through the use of carbon nanotubes. According to the researcher, these nanoscopic tubes made of carbon can magnify a computer’s performance tenfold. However, a computer chip will need billions of these, which makes for a complicated setup.

The Solution
Chemistry provides a solution to this dilemma by providing a way to arrange circuits in a better way in the final product. Nanotechnology can be used to provide a myriad of technological and practical benefits, including medicine delivery, fuel production, more efficient electronics, and cleaner natural resources. If leveraged properly, nanotechnology can change the world.