Saint Louis University (SLU) recently introduced 2,300 Amazon Echo Dot assistants to its student living spaces in an effort to make information more readily available on demand. These devices have been customized to be able to answer specific questions about the university, such as library hours, and there are plans to expand their implementation into classrooms, offices, and meeting rooms.
Currently, the system has 130 custom queries available and SLU is working on more. The goal is to reduce the time that students, faculty, and staff spend searching for informaiton, especially when that information is simple in nature such as locations of university services or events.
SLU isn't the only university using virtual assistants on its grounds - Arizona State University and Northeastern University have Echo programs - but SLU's program is among the largest deployments to date. SLU believes that the devices serve to attract more students, and could even be a deciding factor to incoming freshmen making their final college picks. In fact, SLU's Echo Dot program is just the first in a series of plans to add voice interfaces to the university, all with the goal of improving productivity through instant access to data.
SLU went through some trial and error adopting the Amazon platform, but has seen great results and eager students with their choice. Students prefer the ease of the Amazon platform and the added functionality of the Alexa for Business platform has made managing the devices much easier for the university. Given the volume of deployed devices, easy, centralized management is critical.
To address security, the university put the devices on their own dedicated, secure network and students are informed on how to use privacy features. Plus, the devices are not linked to any specific accounts so there is less worry about compromised accounts. The downside of this is that popular account-based services such as Spotify are unavailable. The university plans to introduce individual devices in the future, but only after it has fleshed out a security plan for that use.
The university is still plotting out how best to utilize the technology at its fingertips, but has solid plans for how to improve productivity and access to information as they get more acquainted with their devices.
This article was based on an August 28, 2018 Computerworld.com article by Andrew Finnegan.
URLs have become ubiquitous in our time - nearly every company and individual has some sort of online presence - all with associated URLs. And, while URLs for the biggest names are generally easy to guess (simply add a .com to their name) - that's not always the case, as is such with nissan.com and companies that use .biz or .info top level domain names. Worse yet, a wrong guess can land you on a webpage that you definitely don't want to be on. Google wants to take the guesswork out of URLs.
But they also want to do something else - they want to make URLs safer. With more and more web traffic being handled over mobile devices it's easy for users to not be able to see complete URLs on their screens, especially now that URLs often contain long strings of dynamically-generated unintelligible characters or users travel to sites via shortened URLs like tinyurl. This makes it easier for cyber criminals to get unsuspecting users onto their malicious lookalike sites, where they phish data, download viruses, and ultimately defraud visitors.
So, how do we make URLs easier and safer? Well, "we haven't quite figured that part out yet", says Google. However, they're exploring new avenues to accomplish the task and hope to have results in the coming months. In the meantime, they're analyzing how users utilize URLs, share them, search for them, and so on so that the new solution offers all the usability that current URLs have.
Whatever the solution may be, Google expects it to be radical and controversial.
This article was based on a September 4, 2018 Wired article by Lily Hay Newman
PaperFree partner OpenText recently announced new additions to its solution lineup specifically designed for the legal sector. OpenText™ Legal Center is a cloud-based enterprise information management product that integrates with OpenText eDOCS and is specially designed to manage client onboarding and document sharing. In addition to this announcement, OpenText also shared news of a new suite of specialized products for the legal market. These new additions will create new advancements and opportunities in the market, which is currently served by solutions such as eDOCS, Axcelerate, EnCase and Decisiv.
These products are aimed at large legal firms and serve their need for document management, forensics, and review both within their caseload and for regulatory compliance and investigations.
“Law firms, governments, and corporate legal departments must continually evaluate their processes to remain effective and competitive in a rapidly changing climate,” said Mark J. Barrenechea, OpenText Vice Chair, CEO, and CTO. “OpenText is a leader in legal tech with solutions to help our customers manage the huge volumes of data they collect and generate, while incorporating the benefits of automation and AI. OpenText is committed to expanding our leadership in the legal tech field and helping our legal customers manage information and apply next-generation solutions to improve operational effectiveness, deliver insights, and maximize existing technology investments”
“With our acquisitions of Guidance Software and Recommind, OpenText has expanded and enhanced our solution set,” continued Barrenechea. “Combining these solutions with our industry-leading EIM platform, new AI and ML capabilities, and our experienced professional services organizations allows OpenText to provide a range of solutions unmatched in the legal market today.”
According to OpenText, these solutions will help clients:
- Securely manage legal content and automate processes: balancing security with access, users can effectively manage sensitive documents and leverage them for repeatable processes.
- Intelligently search documents and identify experts: a powerful search function is able to locate desired documents with incomplete keywords and can help identify who within the organization is an expert in that particular piece of information.
- Forensically collect evidence: collect data from electronic devices while adhering to applicable laws.
- Expedite large-scale eDiscovery review and investigations: machine learning assists with the extensive processing of documents while ensuring compliance.
OpenText will be demonstrating their full portfolio of legal solutions at ILTACON 2018.
This article was based on a August 20, 2018 OpenText press release.
PaperFree partner M-Files recently announced the next generation of their content management solution - M-Files Online. M-Files Online is a hybrid cloud solution that builds on the features and usability of their original product, but adds another layer of ease by being a subscription-based product. This means that there's less software to install and maintain - in fact, M-Files Online is always up to date, automatically.
M-Files Online also includes the following features:
- Intelligent Metadata Layer core module: efficiently categorizes information, links it to other pieces of content, and enables easy searching. Machine learning features also help it to do more of the tedious categorization work too.
- Access anywhere: M-Files' hybrid architecture makes it easy to access documents while on the road, all while retaining access for other authorized users.
- Network Folder Connector: enables communication between M-Files and SharePoint and other network folders so that content can be access without requiring data migration.
- Cloud storage: M-Files Online includes free cloud storage. However, it still continues to support on-premise storage for maximum flexibility in IT and security environments.
M-Files Online is available now. For more information on how M-Files Online can help you transform your content management strategy please contact PaperFree.
Believe it or not, your bank is among the experts in fraud detection. Many of us have experienced urgent phone calls from the bank when we make a larger-than-normal purchase, and this is a good thing. The bank's systems constantly track customers' card use - amount, locations, day of time, etc. to develop a map of your spending habits - and it's when something wanders out of this map that they alert customers before serious damage can be done. Doing so gives customers a chance to interrupt fraud as it happens, as well as minimizing losses for the bank.
However, as our world transitions to AI and more automation, there's increasing concerns about how to protect customers from bank fraud. Machines will begin to make purchases for us ("Alexa, order more toothpaste...") or even learn to check supplies on hand and automatically order products that are running low. But how do we determine who authorized the machine to make the purchase? In the first case it's fairly cut and dry, however in the second it's not so clear. Devices in our home could even one day listen to our conversations and generate shopping lists in the background, or even anticipate that hot wings should be on hand for Super Bowl Sunday.
Another issue is how much more we're interacting with our banks - while it may seem that the opposite is true consumers have become largely reliant on card and digital payments over cash, and so many transactions are now occurring over home wifi and mobile networks. In other words, it's getting really hard to catch the bad guys with so much banking integration in our lives.
To address this, banks are proactively gearing up and are working to track transactions across all "human-not-present" avenues. In a case study analyzing one such effort, it was found that by tracking how fraudsters were failing call center authentication and then risk-assessing those accounts increased fraud detection rates by 2.2%, which translated to half a million dollars a year in savings for the bank. Other analysis shows that consumers are even handling the same banking interaction on multiple channels (such as a laptop, then phone, then virtual assistant).
By looking at what's happening across all transaction channels and comparing it, banks are showing themselves to be adept and keeping your money safe in an evolving world.
This article was based on an August 13, 2018 ComputerWeekly.com article by Warwick Ashford.
Many cities, perhaps your own, are taking steps to implement "smart" measures - measures that include intelligent traffic control, streetlight management, and even tracking bicycle use. However, a new report from IBM Security reveals concerns about how secure these measures are from hacking and malicious takeover.
The concern stems from rudimentary security features in smart technologies, and easily attainable tools that locate exposed devices. The consequences of a compromised system could be extensive; uncontrolled traffic intersections, law enforcement chasing false alarms, and dangerous situations for public workers. And worst of all - public panic - which would only serve to exacerbate the problem. Earlier this year IBM and Threatcare discovered 17 critical vulnerabilities in smart city sensors and controls used around the world. Simply put, an unauthorized operator on a smart city system can easily cause extensive chaos and damage, even if their actions are simply for "fun".
But where are these vulnerabilities? Most commonly they're default passwords, authentication bypass, and SQL injection. Some devices don't even require a password reset on installation. Researchers found it incredibly easy to locate information within a system regarding the location of installed devices, what they did, and information on what safeguards they had come from the factory with.
Part of the trouble is that many of these devices are installed on legacy systems, which don't have the capability to run state of the art security measures, or have been put online without a thorough review of their security suites by a person qualified to do so. There is no easy way to bring every last system within a system up to snuff - doing so requires incredible expenditures which many city coffers don't support. Or, backlash from the public that may not fully understand the situation may dissuade city councils from approving upgrade projects.
While smart city device manufacturers has a responsibility to produce and support devices with current and best security practices, ultimately the onus falls on cities to ensure that they have established a solid and reliable network security plan and select products that complement it as they work towards integrating technology into the public sector.
Users of Windows 10 are well familiar with the inescapable grip of forced system updates - taking their system down for a period of time with no way to cancel or schedule it for later. However, Microsoft took note of how inconvenient this is for users and implemented a snooze function in 2017. Now, it's enlisting the help of machine learning to determine the best time to run mandatory updates that won't reboot your computer when you weren't expecting it (and losing all your unsaved work!).
The new procedure breaks the update down into which pieces can be handled during online phases and those can be run during offline hours. Optimizing these steps dramatically increases the speed of updates since more can be done when the user isn't aware of it and less when the user is. As part of the new procedure, systems will now analyze the usage patterns of users and determine when best to deploy updates. This new model accounts for the complaints about the forced update policy as well as factors in cloud data.
According to Windows Insider chief Dona Sarkar and Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc "We heard you, and to alleviate this pain, if you have an update pending we’ve updated our reboot logic to use a new system that is more adaptive and proactive. We trained a predictive model that can accurately predict when the right time to restart the device is. Meaning, that we will not only check if you are currently using your device before we restart, but we will also try to predict if you had just left the device to grab a cup of coffee and return shortly after."
But why forced updates? Simply put - it's herd immunity. Give users the option to dismiss an update and the vast majority will. With Windows being the prevailing operating system the world over this is a massive security risk - systems must be updated, especially those on shared networks.
The updated logic is currently only available to users enrolled in the Windows Insider pre-release testing program, but internal testing has shown promising results - meaning that the bulk of Windows 10 users should start to benefit from the update soon.
This article was based on a July 25, 2018 Gizmodo article by Tom McKay
PaperFree partner M-Files recently shared an in-depth study on how its solutions helped an Australian HVAC company achieve full control over their accounts payable processes plus full ROI in less than a year. The client, Bossair, provides a full range of commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services to customers in Queensland, Australia.
Bossair's operational pain point was accounts payable - HVAC businesses rely on parts and services from a variety of different suppliers and manufacturers and the pile of invoices became too much for the 40 in-house staff. The paper-based workflow involved physical copies of each and every invoice which were then painstakingly hand-annotated with purchase order (PO) information for processing. Once approved by the employee who created the PO, the paper invoice returned to accounts payable where the form was scanned and digitally stored, and payment was issued.
Naturally, this process was time consuming, prone to problems via lost documents, and took employees away from other important duties. Brenden Lamberth, director of Bossair, said, “This process took between five and 30 minutes per invoice and we had thousands of them every month. This presented a massive opportunity for timesaving and cost reduction, so we investigated the possibility of a more automated solution.”
In their investigations, Bossair found the M-Files content management product and worked with a local M-Files customizer to implement their solution. Their system was up quickly, and has worked flawlessly from day one to receive invoices electronically, code them into the system, collect metadata digitally, get approvals digitally, and complete payment all without ever having to print out documents or handle them manually.
Due to the faster intake of invoices Bossair has seen substantial returns on their investment in M-Files. They report that it has also reduced double payments, missing payments, and they have been able to take advantage of early payment incentives that their vendors offer. The returns have been so substantial that the solution has paid for itself in less than 12 months. Employees are no longer tied to their desks to approve paper forms, and can now issue approvals remotely and have more time to attend to other responsibilities. Bossair also shared that employees took to the M-Files system quickly and have found it to be an effective and easy to use tool in their daily workflow.
Bossair has been so pleased with their solution and is currently in the midst of a second M-Files project to support their ISO certification documentation and employee onboarding process.
This article was based on a recent M-Files case study. Learn more about content management solutions from M-Files.
Many are familiar with the Rise of the Robots and the jobless future they will leave, but is this belief based on sound facts? Turns out it's not, and in fact robots will keep plenty of humans employed. The change is just going to be what the humans are employed in.
According to UK consultancy firm PwC, research into the robotic AI future shows that automation will displace 38% of transport jobs, and 30% of manufacturing jobs. However, other industries will see a different effect, such as healthcare where 12% of jobs will be replaced but 34% will be created.
Turns out, when evened out across the job market AI will create as many jobs as it takes.
According to PwC "Our estimates suggest that AI will not lead to technological unemployment as we project that it will displace around 20% of existing UK jobs by 2037, but create a similar number. In absolute terms, around 7 million existing jobs are projected to be displaced, but around 7.2 million are projected to be created, giving a net jobs boost of around 0.2 million."
When looking at the numbers as a whole, the future isn't so bleak. And, with more and more companies relying on robotic automation, there emerges a need for technicians to program, run, maintain, and supply the robots.
Industries that require complex, specialized tasks can breathe easy as well - AI isn't predicted to take over these industries:
- Scientific and technical work
- Information and communication
- Accommodation and food services
However, industries that revolve around repetitive, administrative tasks should take note:
- Finance and insurance
- Public administration
This article was based on a July 17, 2018 Business Insider article by Shona Ghosh.
Europe-based HSBC bank offered some revealing insights into the future of your interaction with banking. As many know, more and more banking can be done remotely or even through branch ATMs, reducing the demand for in-person branch tellers for all but the most complicated banking transactions. Artificial intelligence and mobile technologies are fueling the progression. Because of this, HSBC is investigating new technology roles within the company to carry tech-fueled banking forward.
Many of these roles, such as “mixed-reality experience designer” and “conversational interface designer” are still being evaluated, but really aren't that far off. Still, many more remain undefined in the technology future. In fact, the US Department of Labor estimates that 65% of today's schoolchildren will fill jobs that don't currently exist.
“Many of the roles and job titles of tomorrow are unknown to us today,” said Josh Bottomley, global head of digital, retail banking and wealth management at HSBC. “One thing is certain, however – artificial intelligence will not replace human intelligence. Blending the best technology with the power of people will be the difference between good and great when it comes to customer experience.”
The topic of technology replacing humans often raises the hackles on the collective workforce, however, technology often replaces repetitive or even delicate work that is reliant on accuracy. And, the output of robotic processes compared to humans cannot be overlooked. However, when it comes to technology, no one can argue that humans hold the keys to key qualities that drive innovation; curiosity, creativity, empathy, and more. These qualities will continue to separate us from the machines.
Considering this, HSBC has shared six possible financial technology positions of the future:
- Mixed-reality experience designer
- Algorithm mechanic
- Conversational interface designer
- Universal service advisor
- Digital process engineer
- Partnership gateway enabler
Though they don't elaborate on granular details of each role, one can surmise the responsibilities of each position. The Mixed-Reality Experience Designer, for example, would utilize tools such as Microsoft HoloLens to integrate 3D holographic technology into the bank's workplaces and processes. A person applying for this role would need to have skills in aesthetic design, branding, user experience, and 3D mechanics.
While we're still working out our human roles alongside humans, one can take heart that (for now), it still takes a human mind to create the interfaces and experiences of tomorrow.
This article was based on a July 6, 2018 ComputerWeekly article by Karl Flinders.
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