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How tech is transforming three traditional industry sectors

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When it comes to tech transformation, you only need to look at what the smart investors are funding to see that it’s not just the dynamic, emerging sectors such as fintech that are benefiting. Investors such as Tom Chapman, co-founder of MatchesFashion; Sanjeev Krishnan of S2G Ventures, and Donald Lucas of Lucas Venture Group are focusing on the traditional industries too.

While we’ve all been watching the dynamic, and often consumer-facing, end of the tech market, activity is growing at a rapid pace in some of our most traditional sectors. Here are just three that are coming up on the rails by using tech to power the next generation of companies.

1. Logistics and shipping

Established industries don’t come much more traditional than shipping or as profitable as freight forwarding, a sector worth some $2 trillion at the last count. Freight forwarding companies ensure the smooth movement of goods around the globe but, up until recently, the industry has not seen anything like the kind of tech transformation you would witness elsewhere.

This year that’s set to change. A number of new tech businesses have sprung up to service the sector, dragging it into the 21st Century. Possibly the most high-profile is San Francisco-based startup Flexport, which in February received another $1bn in investment taking its valuation to a whopping $3.2bn. Started just five years ago, it now employs more than 1,000 people from 11 offices worldwide and is building warehousing facilities at many major ports. Flexport has seen such stratospheric growth because it understands the industry’s biggest problems and has got the tech right.

For the first time, Flexport has created a holistic cloud-based software platform that connects all the parties together in one place: importers, exporters, shipping carriers, truckers, airlines, plus the customs agencies and ports, allowing real-time interaction and document transfer. This might not seem so groundbreaking but in freight forwarding, where to date mountains of paper documents have been the norm, it really is.

2. Agriculture and food

Farming is another sector that’s slowly being transformed by tech innovations. For the last few years we’ve seen a big growth in agtech, fueled by a rapid rise in investment on the back of concerns about food security and environmental regulation. In fact, last year agtech deal activity hiked 11 per cent year-on-year worldwide; according to agtech funder Sanjeev Krishnan: “We have never seen the tectonic plates shifting as much as they are now, from the farm gate to the fridge.”

If there is one company that encapsulates the ethos and innovation of the new agtech revolution it’s Farmwise. Based out of San Francisco, Farmwise aims to solve some core issues in farming: the elimination of weeds and the need to optimise the amount of crops grown on a farmer’s land and the need to reduce the use of harmful pesticides.

Founded in 2016, Farmwise is just about to launch its first generation automated weeding system. The vehicle provides information about the crops in real time, giving farmers a more accurate early warning system and pointing to areas that need their attention. But more than this, using a combination of AI and robotics, the onboard tech captures images of each plant, analyses the data and identifies whether it’s friend or foe. Then it removes the weeds, even around individual crops. In time it’s hoped that this tech will drastically reduce the need to spray chemicals on the land and increase the productivity of each individual field.

3. Construction and housebuilding

Regarded by many as the last tech-free bastion, the building industry is highly traditional and up until recently was resistive to change. But over the last couple of years we’ve seen a growing number of startups coming on stream determined to transform this determinedly old-school sector.

One company focused on the building industry that has hit the headlines is Katerra, a startup focused on increasing collaboration, productivity and speeding up the construction process using tech. Driving them forward is the challenge we all face: creating more and cheaper housing as global populations boom. It’s a company with big ideas and big ambitions that has attracted high-profile investors.

Katerra is set to transform the sector because they are creating a one-stop building shop. They handle everything: architecture and design, specification, construction and fit-out, all powered by a heavy use of the latest tech including AI, robotics, apps and customer software interfaces. If there was ever a company that demonstrated the future for traditional industries, its Katerra. As Katerra Chairman and co-founder Michael Marks says: “Progress won’t come with incremental measures, we are pursuing transformational change on a massive scale.”

Today, tech is driving every industry sector, transforming everything, including where we live, how we’ll ship goods and what we will eat. The next five years will see traditional industries play catch up and you can bet the results for us all will be startling.

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5 Must-have Apps For Business Travellers

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Travelling for business is still a must-do for many professions in most industries, today. While you may not be travelling to as many meetings as you used to, due to the prevalence of video call apps, not all meetings are successful this way.

Meeting your client or prospective customer in-person is better for closing deals. Therefore don’t put off that all-important business trip, as you can reduce the stresses of organising your travel, business meetings and accommodation with the assistance of technology.

Technology Is A Game-changer For Travel

The whole travel process is now a lot more bearable, with these must-have business travel apps, so check out our top picks.

1. Expensify

When you’re busy navigating transport and prepping for important business meetings, the last thing you want to be worrying about is keeping track of your expenses. Enter Expensify – it does the job for you.

Simply take a picture of your receipts (no matter what the currency) and the clever little app will automatically submit the expense for approval and reimbursement. As if that weren’t enough, it also has GPs tracking, so you can accurately record your mileage too.

2. GetYourGuide

No business trip should be all work and no play, and with GetYourGuide on your phone, you’ll be able to find fun things to do.

This fantastic app shows you the best sight-seeing tours and activities in your destination, and lets you book tickets for them, including the queue-jump variety – perfect if you’re pushed for spare time.

Plus, you can use it offline to access your mobile ticket, directions to your activity and supplier contact details.

3. PackPoint

 PackPoint is a helpful little app that puts together a personalised packing list for you, by reviewing factors such as the type of trip (business or leisure), the duration, the weather, and even whether you’ll have access to washing facilities.

Also, the app creates a link for your list which you can share with your colleagues if they’re a little bit bamboozled about what to pack – check out this PackPoint demo video on YouTube to see it in action.

4. Flio

A stressful visit to the airport is the last thing you need at the start of a business trip, however, with Flio installed, you’ll have an expert airport assistant by side.

This awesome app provides instant airport updates, which means you’ll be the first to know about delays, gate changes and other essential flight-related info.

In addition to this, it has airport guides for more than 300 hubs, lets you purchase airport services such as lounge access and helps you log in to the airport’s official wi-fi – what more could you want?

5. Waze

The Waze navigation app gives you info about traffic, roadworks, accidents and other factors that can cause delays, and even adapts your route so you can reach the airport as quickly as possible.

It also links to other apps, so you can enjoy some travel tunes or your favourite business podcast as your cruise on over to the airport. For example, if you are driving to the airport, you can compare Airport parking deals for East Midlands, Heathrow and most major UK hubs. Just think of the time and expense saved by knowing in advance the costs associated with parking!

With these five fantastic apps on your phone, you don’t need to leave anything to chance, you can look forward to less stress and more fun on your next business trip. Plus with more time between meetings you can see the sights and do some shopping for family and friends, and yourself too.

We hope that these awesome business travel apps have got you excited. Let us know what you think of them and tell us about your own favourites in the comments section.

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Can Phone Screens Be Replaced?

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Even with a protective case and screen protector, there are some situations which will inevitably result in your smartphone’s screen being damaged. From dropping your phone in water to dropping it on concrete, your phone’s screen may eventually need to be repaired or replaced.

Thankfully, there are ways to service your phone without spending a lot of money or sending your phone to the manufacturer in the mail. If you simply search for “cell phone repair near me,” you’ll be able to choose from dozens of local third party services. Here is a quick rundown of the types of situations in which you’ll need to replace your phone screen.

Broken or cracked screen

Fixing a cracked screen is one of the most common phone repairs performed. Generally, this procedure involves removing the broken screen glass and replacing it with a new piece of glass. While you may be able to buy a repair kit online, it’s generally advised that you take your phone to a professional to fix its screen.

This ensures that the repair is done correctly and that you don’t accidentally make matters worse and cause other issues with your phone. A third party service can perform a screen repair quote quickly, allowing you to get back to using your phone in no time at all.

Pressure spots or dead pixels

While not as drastic to your phone’s performance as some of the other issues on this list, dead pixels and pressure spots can severely limit your ability to use your phone to its fullest.

A dead pixel occurs when one of the lights in your phone’s LCD burns out, usually leaving a permanently black or white pixel in its place. While one or two dead pixels can generally be ignored, multiple missing pixels can be particularly frustrating, especially if they’re in key areas on your screen.

The same can be said for pressure spots, which are fingerprint sized discolorations that can obscure even more of your phone’s user interface. Sometimes, users will dismiss these problems and treat them like cosmetic defects. However, it’s best to take care of these before they develop into even bigger problems.

Unresponsive touch screen

An unresponsive touch screen is one of the most serious problems you can run into with your smartphone, and it may take some troubleshooting to rule out other issues. For example, sometimes your iPhone or Android might freeze, but you can still restart your phone. Even resetting your smartphone to factory default is worth a try if you’ve backed up your device’s data and are really looking to fix the problem.

If none of these workarounds rule out your problem, it may be time to take your phone to a professional. The touch screen of a phone features complex circuitry and features that make it crucial to be addressed by an experienced technician. That being said, you don’t necessarily have to go back to the manufacturer for these kinds of repairs. Third party services are often much cheaper.

Water damage

While a bit more rare than other screen problems, if water gets between your glass and the circuitry of your LCD touch screen, the results can be disastrous. In most situations, recovery of your phone comes down to numerous factors, which is why it’s best not to get your hopes up if even a little moisture made it to your phone’s central processor or motherboard.

For this reason, third party companies generally won’t charge a fee for the diagnostic work associated with water damage. Instead, a technician will do their best to determine what work might be able to be accomplished to salvage your hardware and, most importantly, your data.

While replacing the phone in its entirety is usually the end result, sometimes replacing the screen and drying out the phone is possible. So it’s always a good idea to have your phone looked at before you throw in the towel.

While the simple answer to the question “Can my phone’s screen be replaced?” is “yes”, the longer answer is that it depends on the issue your phone is facing. If any of the above issues are happening to your phone, take your device in to a professional technician to see how they may be able to service it.

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Court Reporting Versus Digital Recording: Which Is The Better Option?

When it comes to informational accuracy, technology surpasses human intelligence in several circumstances, but are court hearings included?

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When it comes to informational accuracy, technology surpasses human intelligence in several circumstances, but are court hearings included? Surprisingly enough, they’re not.

While some people may go along with the potential obsolescence of court reporters and the deployment of digital recording as a sole reporting method, that may not be fully recommended for a number of reasons. Modern technology and artificial intelligence are optimizing day-to-day tasks and facilitating operations that would otherwise take long hours to be completed. On the other hand, despite their systematized functioning, electronic devices aren’t failure-proof. That’s where the human element makes an entrance.

Digital recording: the latest technology for accurate documentation

Digital reporting or electronic reporting is, in the words of the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, the “use of professional-level audio recording systems to register court proceedings.” Those unfamiliar with the judicial scenery might consider the presence of a human court reporter unnecessary in any case – after all, an electronic device has a faster and stricter capability of collecting crucial information. Still, electronics malfunction, break, and regardless of outside conditions, they’ll only work according to their primary function, which isn’t optimal when you think about it.

When taking human failure rates into account, however, one may find that there’s a high risk of information loss and defective machine performance. In ideal conditions, the recording device would be working properly, and all members would respect their time to speak. Yet, it’s common for litigants lower their voices or speak almost inaudibly in certain instances, which may or may not be caught by a recording device. Additionally, not everyone will keep their speeches stable in court and member will sometimes interrupt one another. When such situations meet poor device functioning, bad audio quality, and human error (e.g. forgetting to press the “record” button), a bunch of missing information could compromise the case and information could be gone permanently.

The job of court reporters is still critical for complete reports

Court reporters are highly trained professionals who are knowledgeable about legal proceedings and emergent technologies. Their expertise and dexterity is based on years of training, which qualifies them to document entire judicial processes. Just for reference, a person must be able to type about 225 words per minute in order to pass the United States Registered Professional Reporter Test.

Another major difference between digital recordings and court reporters is that the best professionals have an expedited turnaround of all transcripts, as is the case with skillful Miami court reporters. Some court cases require faster processing and a shorter turnaround time for being more complicated than others, which once again favors the reporters’ set of skills. They won’t simply deliver transcripts on time — they’ll interpret them, clarify misheard sentences with heavy accents, for example, and offer real-time technology so every court member, including the hard of hearing, has instant access to transcripts. Their role makes sure to benefit judges and jurors alike, providing information that can be accessed in person or remotely.

Should one be employed without the other?

Without technological assistance, the job of court reporters would be harder. For this reason, their education and certifications must always meet high standards of innovation and deliver extremely precise transcripts in a short period of time.

For all-encompassing and error-free documentation, digital recordings paired with the proficiency of a court reporter would be suitable. However, reliable and proficient reporters are always up-to-date with the latest technologies to capture hearings accurately, so the extra cost of a recording device might not be necessary. Court reporters are, at least in the predictable future, the best voice-to-text transcriptors courts can rely on.

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