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How Tech Is Shaping The Future Of Freight Forwarding

warehouse

The logistics industry experienced a slump during the previous years because of sluggish adaptation to technology. Nowadays, the industry has reshaped itself with various programs and innovations that not only simplifies processes but eliminates most of the manual processes so it should cope with other threats like trade wars.

As such, freight services rose from the ashes, becoming one of the most dominant players with technology for shippers that improve every aspect of operations. Freight forwarding has joined the bandwagon of change, proving resilience despite its once-through demise.

Trends & Innovations

The latest trends and innovations being followed by the whole forwarding business has been the industry’s ticket to survival. The information revolution removed all additional human resources and the millions of equipment needed to run an entire system.

This time, the efficiency of freight forwarding does not rely on manual labor and processes, but faster and smarter churn of information that equates to more significant investment returns. Some of the expected technologies we will see with logistics in the coming years are conceptual sprouts of technology.

Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is a particular tech model slowly creeping into the facades of our daily living. Though the technology is still in its fragmental stages, its roots are seen to shake up the shipping industry.

The Internet of Things is particularly keen on autonomously realigning every process through the web. So, in a sense, using IoT to simplify processes with tools that speak to each other. Parcels and containers will be able to send real-time information about their locations, giving shippers quantitative information to base their decisions.

Cloud-based solutions.

Cloud-based solutions currently shape the whole technology industry because of its efficiency in limiting infrastructure investments. Freight companies are also benefiting from this technology because they allow simultaneous consolidation of reports and real-time connections.

This technology also allows companies and their customers to get first-hand information from shippers so they can realign their business strategies. Businesses can ask for immediate repositioning of an empty cargo without investing in an in-house IT infrastructure.

Advanced Machine Learning (AML).

Advanced machine learning is also currently the buzzword in the computer technology sector. Wiki has a layperson’s definition so we all can grasp its function. You’re probably more familiar with the term ‘artificial intelligence’ and machine learning is a subset of it, where it’s role is to learn patterns and take action of on its own accord without human intervention.

Freight Services companies powered by AML get a competitive edge because of their ability to make reliable decisions based on market movement and enforced logistic patterns. By using pre-determined analysis tools, reports are given an accurate reading, and business decisions are formed based on reliable insights. Actively powered by industry algorithms, AML can accurately solve conditional problems and pinpoint process inefficiencies.

The Future Of Freight Forwarding Businesses

The need for stability and indeed consistency is why technology like AML is taking over some of the repetitive tasks in a lot of sectors.

The catalyst of change is usually a threat to existence and survival and the freight sector has had its fair share of challenges in recent years, both in shipping and air freight and more recently with the political sparring between the US and China.

Technology is said to be the enabler of change, and AML, artificial intelligence are now leading the way forward in so many areas of so the demand for automation in the freight service industry is inescapable.

Reducing costs, and improving profit lines will alway the challenge business leaders and they will deal with it any way they can to stay relevant.

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Tech

Use Real-Time Captions for Your Business Zoom Sessions

Zoom call

Live captioning has made the virtual world connect in more profound ways with their captions and event recaps in the form of transcripts.

When hosting virtual events and sessions on Zoom and other platforms, the need of the hour is real-time captioning to make your session accessible and inclusive.

Earlier this year, Zoom rolled out closed captioning support to even free accounts to make the service more accessible. For those working from home, attending virtual events and conferences, and figuring out newer ways of collaborating in the pandemic era, this was a boon.

Accuracy in subtitling and inclusivity via multi-lingual captions have made captioning the go-to service for virtual events. In this article, we delve into the world of real-time captions.

What Are Live Captions?

Everything that is spoken during a live event, a virtual event, a seminar, or a hybrid event (real-time + virtual) can get captured in live captions.

They are powered either by human captioners or by AI technology such as ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) and accessible via internet-enabled devices e.g. smartphone, a computer, or a tablet.

Positives for Media File Transcribing

Basically, a media file (audio, video, or podcasts) gets transcribed to satisfy several end goals:

  • Better comprehension for the hard of hearing
  • Maintain records of the event in a simplified text format
  • Downloadable transcripts for those unable to attend live
  • Add another layer of accessibility for those who might want to consume the content in their native/preferred languages

Why Use Live Captions for your Zoom session

With Zoom’s roaring success in the past year, it has become even more critical for companies that enjoy a global presence to activate captions and translations for their live events.

Translating a Zoom event into specific languages opens up the world further, allowing people to consume and witness these events in the languages closest to home. From a business perspective, this makes sense from a comprehension and application standpoint.

Plus, content consumption has pivoted to vernacular in the digital space, with regional content players ruling the roost, so this is another reason to use live captions in your video content.

More Accessibility

Now that Zooming had become the de facto verb of the year, it necessitated a next logical step. This step was a huge advantage for multitaskers who have to participate in the meetings while also taking notes.

Remote working

While it may seem strange to some to consider reading through captions during a Zoom event, you’ll be surprised at how imperative it becomes in the context of the home office. It can, in fact, be a lifesaver to those whose attention may be divided while juggling both office and home responsibilities from home.

Plus it is easy to activate the captions during a Zoom call, via the meeting controls so there’s no interruption to the live event.

The captions allow you to scroll through to the parts you may have missed. You can also download transcripts of the session, a feature that closed captioning services provide.

AI Captions Are Catching Up

Human captions versus AI live captions which is more accurate? (Hint: Not AI)

Google introduced its Live Captioning in 2019. While automatic speech recognition has many advantages in logistics, there is still that little gap to consider between the human versus AI. For example, machines don’t understand languages, inflexion, tone, nuances in speech, and humans.

Human captioners

Human captioners have greater adherence to accuracy in capturing speech. Human captioners are skilled at deciphering human speech and precisely reproducing the words they hear. Human-generated captions have greater accuracy, up to 99%, compared to AI-generated captions for this very reason.

AI

AI technology works on bridging that gap between speech and captioned text and it is the future – just not yet!

Summary

Zoom now only allows users to send one language to their platform. Before the event begins, the host can determine if which language captions to use.

However, rather than just one language, you can get multi-lingual captions with a captioning service like SyncWords. Plus their blog has a guide to activating captions for Zoom: Zoom Real-Time Captions.

So, if you’re thinking Zoom, think real-time captions and what they can do for you and your business.

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Tech

3 Common IT Challenges Small Businesses Face

security

Technology is the enabler for most businesses today, and SMEs rely on IT apps and systems in most departments, from finance to sales. There are a few common challenges with technology, and in this post, we review what they are and how to turn them into strengths for your business.

Top Most Common Tech Challenges

Thankfully there are a lot of sources online to assist with the accuracy of our content. Starting with TechCrunch. They rank IT security as the top challenge.

IT Security

The pandemic did not pause cybercrime, and reports say cyberattacks increased with malware, phishing, and ransomware being the most common cyber threats to businesses. Remote working has added to the stress.

Companies need to ensure devices and apps used to share data and access business systems are secure. Staff at home are less accessible. The need for ongoing knowledge transfer and user training requires planning and resources, which is an added cost SMEs would prefer to do without.

Malware Attacks

Out of all types of data attacks, malware is among the most common. Malware attacks are simple and happen when a piece of malicious software is installed on someone’s computer or a network. The malware will then perform specific actions as desired.

Some malware is there to disrupt. Other malware can do things such as catching admin credentials for financial information, for instance. These can be very serious and put your whole organization at a standstill, so they cannot take them lightly.

Another thing you should know is that malware attacks are rarely made without the cooperation of a human in your organization. And, in most cases, they weren’t even in on it.

Attackers will often use social engineering techniques to pose as someone in authority. The receiver will have no idea as everything will be made to look like it’s coming from that person.

But this isn’t the only case where humans can become a liability. As a matter of fact, humans are the single biggest IT vulnerability.

You may have a remote or hybrid workplace, and one of your employees loses a device that could be found and accessed by a hacker. From the device, your whole network at risk.

It’s in the Cloud

Getting your head around cloud computing and how to adopt it company-wide is challenging. Vendor agreements are different, and the model is user pays, which is a far cry from buying a server and having it in your office.

Lack of In-House Skill

This is one of the biggest challenges for any business. Finding people who have IT skills and the type of skill you need can be complicated. Someone may understand certain things, but if you have an issue that needs a particular set of expertise, you might find your business stuck and hitting a dead end.

This is why many businesses decide to outsource their IT department. This way, they have a team at their disposal that can deal with everything that they need. They can also do things such as maintaining your licenses to make sure that they’re in order and that your patches are all up to date. Or they might be able to help you recover your systems quickly if there’s an unexpected error or breach.

Emerging Tech

Getting to grips with AI, robotics, Natural Language Processing, and matching learning is challenging to most businesses. When do you adopt systems that may replace your staff? There’s no escaping change and technology evolution. Some apps already use AI, and automation is used in many mundane tasks within the business.

Chatbots use AI and machine learning are the norm on many websites that offer services and online purchases, i.e. eCommerce stores. 64% of users say the 24-hour service is the best feature of the chatbot. As a consumer, you rely on instantaneous response, especially when you’re in the midst of an online purchase.

Summing Up

These are just some of the most common IT issues small businesses have to deal with every day. If you are one, make sure that you protect yourself against these risks and consider hiring an expert team for assistance.

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Marketing

4 Ways Tree Testing Can Benefit Your Business

marketing

Designing a successful digital product is tricky and challenging. In the crowded space of the WWW, your product may not end up in search results, and this is why findability precedes usability in designing for the web. If your product can’t reach your audience, it has failed already.

Therefore the big question here is how do you ensure that your product is easily found and accessible by your target audience?

The answer to your question lies in information architecture. Design a superior user experience (UX) using a tree test.

Top 4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Tree Testing

Still unsure of what a tree test can do to your design venture?

Let’s take a look into the true capabilities of a tree test.

Primarily, you would be running a tree test because of any one of the following reasons.

  • baselining an existing tree
  • detecting the problem area and points thereby establish a base score
  • experimenting test trees trying to solve existing information architecture problems
  • comparing each version against each other to find the best possible solution to the existing problems

However, a tree test also does a lot more for your product. Following are a few primary areas where a tree test can be beneficial.

Why It Pays To Use A Tree Test

1. Evaluate product navigation

A tree test can improve your digital product’s online findability. With the test tree, you can evaluate your product’s existing information navigation system. How? Well, users complete a series of tasks looking for items using the site structure. Using this method to evaluate your site structure, you have a way to measure how easy it is for users to find things.

Treejack is one of the most popular tools used for tree-tests.

2. Time-efficient

With a remote tree test, the users can be located anywhere, and they can take the test in their own time. You benefit from getting quality, quantitative data.

3. Cost-efficient

By using online test conduction, results accumulate from global users. Thus, it reduces the costs of on-premise tests.

4. Agile

The biggest asset of tree testing is that it is designed for experiments. The test sessions are concise, each test of around 15 – 20 minutes, having a maximum of 20 tasks per session.

This improves the success rate of completing the test by users significantly. These tests, like card sorting, are pretty much simple with low complexity that readily helps with the dropout rates.

Combined with remote access to the test, all this makes data collection fast and the data analysis process lean. This means whatever insights you derive from your test analytics, you can apply them in no time.

How To Optimize Your Tree Tests

Ensuring you get the maximum benefits out of your tests is one of the most important yet neglected design tests areas. But if you can make sure to ask the critical questions without fail, your tests will not fail you.

Following are a set of core questions that can ensure you make the most of tree testing.

1. What is the objective of your tests?

This is perhaps the anchor point of your complete questionnaire. This answer is going to help you achieve the hyper-targeted activities for your test. For instance, you may want to analyze the results of your design changes in the navigation structure.

2. Who is your target audience?

Answering this question right in the beginning can save you a lot of pain in the long term. A good practice here is to take some time out and think deeply about your product visitors.

If your answer is: “everyone”, then you are doing it wrong. Remember, if everyone is your audience, then no one is your audience.

3. Define the independent variables

Deciding on the independent factors that are dynamic can produce multiple end-results.

Use factorial experimental designs. This method enables you to examine each variable in isolation.

4. Define the dependent variable.

Dependent variables can also bring a lot of improvements to your overall user experience. To assess its impact, you have to observe its effect on its respective independent factor instead of the end-user interface result. For instance, you can examine the precision of an area locator for completing preset tasks.

5. What do you use while comparing trees, a control group or a treatment group?

Control Group acts as a benchmark. It is not vulnerable to changes. Here, comparing the altered results to the original group is possible. You can assess the degree of difference between the results of both groups.

6. While comparing testing trees, do you use a between-subject design or a within-subject design?

It’s important to decide whether you want the same group of test-takers to participate in all the versions of your test tree or anyone.

Whether you choose both strategies or not, both have their own merits. Therefore, it would be best if you decide based on your test goals. For instance, choosing a between-subject approach can reduce the test taker fatigue, and the learning effect could even prove to be time-efficient.

Parting Advice

The whole point of executing a tree testing activity is to ensure you stay updated about your target audience’s behavioral nodes. This means conducting frequent tree tests can boost the overall information architecture health of your digital product.

The above tips and tricks are definite to help you optimize all your tree testing campaigns, but the heaviest success metric still lies in your hands.

Ensuring you understand your target audience will make sure that your design assumptions walk the closest to reality.

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