The Artificial (AI) Temple!

If it was not for the machine learning (ML) and deep learning and any such concept which relates to Artificial Intelligence (AI), I wouldn’t have got married”, was what I heard when I attended one of the weddings recently.

The groom had no doubt that for him, Algorithm=God, for he hasn’t seen God but had certainly found the love of his life, courtesy one of the algorithms being implemented on the Facebook which helps one connect to someone whom you might know.

AI is no more a science fiction. Be it the suggestions of what you might buy, which you tend to see on the likes of Amazon, or be it the ML being used by the likes of IBM Watson, to help doctors diagnose better, AI seems to be affecting each and every aspect of our lives.

DSC_0784

Few might be skeptical of its use, suggesting the loss of jobs as a result of humans being replaced by machines and the resulting automation, few go on to suggest the efficient use of the same, focusing on the need for humans to develop new skills and keep evolving with time.

Few fantasize about machines taking on the humans on the lines of Matrix Triology, few go on to suggest the need for developing the machines with altruism as the basis of the same, where in machines learn from worthwhile models, which in turn enables the humans to act more responsibly and correctly, though the entire gamut of values and correctness might have their own proponents.

Whatever it might be, the day is not so far, when with or without the willingness of some, AI would start influencing all our decisions, and instead of people going to the pundits or the temples for consulting for marriage or otherwise, might actually start to approach the AI Temples build for the purpose.

Source for the Image: http://skumar813.blogspot.in/2011/04/day-in-nemmara-kerala-temple-festival_19.html

Advertisements

AI: Man’s Best Buddy?

Imagine a scenario, where a software services and product company has a founder or a couple of co-founders sitting happily monitoring a machine performing all kind of stuff ranging from receiving client requirement to preparing phase wise modules, from completion of the development to testing each and every aspect of the same, from sending invoices to notifying the founder of the receipt of payment.

Does it sound like science-fiction? Well, the day is not that far, when each and every aspect of our lives, from womb to tomb will become automated. The cars will have no drivers, just a person monitoring the functioning of the algorithm or the program being run.

No one would need to come to the office. All exams would be given from their own little artificially created enclosures inside your homes, only to be accessed by the right candidate through his or her bio-metrics.

All data will belong to the in vogue dark web, which would be available to only a select few individuals having special access rights. All diagnosis will be done via the likes of machines like IBM Watson.

images

Preventive healthcare would be the buzz word, with each one of us, acting like a doctor, in the true sense of the world, being able to monitor and provide the right medication himself/herself.

Cannot help but wonder, if all the above, would be done by the machines, what would the ever increasing population end up doing? No matter how many skills one learns, one would never be able to match the ratio and the rate with which machines would be replacing humans in practically every job.

Though the pros are immense, cons seem to haunt the very essence of life, or may be it’s high time to re-define the very essence?

Source for the Image: http://medicalfuturist.com/artificial-intelligence-will-redesign-healthcare/

Does being Apped means losing Humanity?

Evolution is inevitable, but have you ever wondered that we would evolve so much so as to have our entire lives and generation apped.

Ya, that’s the buzz word. Possibly anything that you can think of at the moment has been put as a service/product which can be accessed through an app. It was only yesterday that I came to know, that an app exists for funeral services as well for those who are not able to make it in time for the last riots of their loved ones.

Can you believe it? An app for a funeral service? Ironically, on one hand, where it is extraordinarily funny because of our socialization process, the way we all have been brought up in India, on the other, being apped means lot of convenience.

It means the time that earlier you might have so called wasted, can now be utilized for more productive work, though I still believe the entire concept can be questioned.

We are spending more than 70% of our time, either on our laptops or our mobile phones. Our real life conversations have gone down.

images

If I were to picture a typical ITied family, you would see the husband and wife doing something on their respective IT platforms and the kid, who might have just been introduced to the likes, would be trying to add friends on Whatsapp or Fb.

What we earlier referred to as the family time has now got transformed into IT time. Father doesn’t seem to have time to spend with his kids, wife or parents. The wife, especially if she is a house-wife seemed to have found some abode in the arms of the virtual. The kids love the alley of the technology that they seem to be racing into.

The only ones who are left out in this entire ITionization or Appionization or whatever you might want to refer to as are the parents of the grownups or the generation that gave birth to the so called successful techies.

I know, some of us, would want to argue, that IT has helped us remain connected with our parents. At least we have an option to either do a skype or video calling sitting somewhere in US.

I just wonder, when we were young, and when we needed our parents’ attention the most, be it being fed when we were hungry or be it when we craved for their attention when we were hurt, if our parents were to come and tell us that they were appified, I bet we wouldn’t have liked it.

It’s our time, it’s our physical presence, it’s us providing the much wanted emotional support and attention, that our parents need the most, when they become old.

Where on one hand, it’s good to learn new things, keep oneself updated with what’s happening, on the other hand, we should try not to become so ITied or apped, where we tend to lose the very essence and foundation of humanity and love.

Source for Image: https://twitter.com/appstore

Deciphering SEO!

Since the time I have started writing a blog, I have become familiar with the 3 letter word SEO. Though, my blog is not commercial as in it is not helping me earn money, yet I thought of doing some research on this 3 letter word in order to understand what this term might mean and what implications it can have for those who are into the business of making money via blogs.

Below is a humble effort to being able to help those who seem to find themselves on the other side of the table when it comes to making money from their blogs or websites and hopefully this small effort might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the same lot.

Here I present my analysis of what SEO is and what steps can be taken in order to improve your site rank. By the way, I would also like to thank one of my clients who helped me understand and decipher the mystery.

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with one of our clients and he told me that his site rank (http://www.alexa.com/) has taken a beating for the past couple of months and is headed in a downward direction.

The reason that he could think of was switching from one platform to another and he was totally perplexed on how to go about improving his site rank.

Without further delving into the conversation that we had with our client, this problem is quite common when it comes to websites trying to figure out a way where their rank could go up in order to drive more traffic on their websites which they wish would result in increased conversions on their site, whether it be lead generation or actually subscribing to lets say their blog or say selling some product via their website.

Some of the common strategies that one can think of when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or to put it in a lay man’s language, to be able to increase one’s website’s visibility on search engines like Google are:

1. Original and well written content on your website is the need of the hour. You should make your site dynamic and should try to update your content on a regular basis, keeping in mind the relevance for your customers.

2. Increase your visibility by participating in all relevant forums and let search engines find you through back links.

3. One should choose a SEO-friendly URL

4. One should also try to keep the design of one’s website SEO and user friendly.

5. No matter how much you think that meta tags have lost their relevance, they surely play a big role when it comes to SEO and search engines.

Hope this helps. You can also watch a video that I am attaching along with this post. For further queries you can sign up on http://connecto.io

The Virtual Salesperson

Too much text to read can be so boring. And if you happen to be on a website with lot of content on it, then it is a given that you will get bored to the extent of exiting the website page.

How wonderful it would be if someone comes up to you and says, “Do you need any help? What are you looking for?”

The entire idea of establishing yourself online and using the wonderful features that IT presents, is to be able to do things conveniently and efficiently.

And if this were to be marred by the complexity and density of the content on the website, the entire purpose might be defeated.

But what can you do as a website owner? You surely have lots and lots of information to share to your prospective customers. You want to show every little detail that your service or product has to offer.

You want your offers and deals to be shown to your prospective customers whenever they visit your site. You want to know how they might find your website or your service. You also want to know their opinions.

Now, if there is a product in the market, that does just what you want and that too in a manner in which your customers don’t feel intruded, then won’t you be eager enough to explore the same.

Won’t you want an option wherein a product or what we can hence forth refer to as a virtual salesperson comes on board and caters to your prospective customers on your website.

Sounds interesting? If it does, then why not visit our site http://www.connecto.io and give us a chance to let you explore the wonderful product that we offer, which does all of the above that I have mentioned in this blog post.

So, what are you waiting for? Come on our website or give us a call @ +91-9794542565 and get to know what difference this product can make to your turnover and conversions on your website.

The ConnectO team will be eagerly looking forward to hearing from you. Let us join hands in enabling you to become best at what you do.

Conversions! The Bottom Line

Can you imagine what will be the fate of an e-commerce company, say selling apparel online if there were to be no conversions i.e. if there were to be no sales from the site in spite of people visiting the site?

Well, in all probabilities the business is going to suffer losses and will eventually need to shut down the same, thus bringing a doomsday for the start-up and the investors who had invested their hard-earned money in the company.

The biggest question therefore is how to ensure that the people or in this case the prospective customers who are visiting the site, which we can also term as the traffic on the site, end up subscribing/purchasing a product etc. thereby leading to fulfillment of the aim of the company that was formulated the first time it came into existence.

Some of the things that I am about to mention here has come from various sources from the internet. The thing is that I would like to share with you, in order to ensure that you get the best out of what you are doing.

First thing first, it is extremely important to let your customer have a wonderful time interacting with your site. There should be no bugs on the site, which deter the customers from playing with your site.

Second, many a times what happens is that you tend to give too many details which are unnecessary from the customer’s point of view and you end up annoying the customer more, without letting him know in what way a particular proposition will benefit the customer. Thus, the sales pitch needs to be precise and to the point, at the same time, should be informative to the extent of being able to show the utility of your product or service.conversion

Third, having too many CTA (call to action) on a single page is a nuisance for the customer. Trust me, it’s better to have just one main CTA and the rest should direct everything towards this one CTA.

Fourth, the “thappa” is very important, when it comes to internet. So, if you have say a particular logo (say of visa) on your site, you are considered to be a credible website. Because people believe in the “thappa” effect, therefore you need to get at least 2 to 3 credible thappas on your website in order to develop a sense of trust in the customers for the website.

Fifth, never be satisfied with your conversion rate. There is always a scope of improving it further. keep analyzing and keep testing the same which would result in conversion rate optimization (CRO).

If you can keep these little yet great things in your mind, then I am sure, you are going to love what you are doing, which will get reflected in increased conversions and in turn increased sales and ROI.

Source for Image: http://blog.statcounter.com/2008/07/conversion-update/

Connecto: The New Kid on the Block

I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of being wired up. No matter where I go, I tend to be surrounded by wires and signals running all over my being. Yes, you can call it by what ever name you want, be it the internet revolution or the IT revolution, the fact is that we all are living in a Matrix (taking the liberty of borrowing this word from the famous movie), wherein we can be tracked every moment where we are going, what we are doing, what intentions we might have and what behavior might be expected of us.

Whether it be walking on the road with our mobiles in our pockets or whether it be browsing the internet, we are being tracked for every movement we tend to make, be it the mouse on which we move our fingers or be it the smart phone which we might be using for browsing the internet or sending a message to our friends on whatsapp. 

If you are feeling that your lives have been intruded, well to certain extent yes. But as you might be aware that there are always two sides of a coin, one which you feel happy about and the other which you don’t really take great pride in, so is this very aspect of making our lives go digital.

Without going into the cons, as cons are in itself defined to be such by the impact that they are making and by the very nature of usage of the pros, let me try to focus on the pros of the same.

One thing is for sure, that our lives have become simpler. If you have any sort of doubt regarding this, let me cite a couple of examples which might leave you on the pro side of things.

Imagine the kind of hassle one had to go through while paying, say an electricity or a phone bill. How much effort was required when it came to booking a train ticket! How wonderful it is that we can now book a cab or a taxi using the wonderful facility of a phone or internet!

On part of the consumers, so far so good. Let me now talk about how this has altered the way businesses are being run and what impact it is having on the sales or generation of leads and ultimately the ROI, which indeed becomes the bottom line and can be a key determinant when it comes to existence or non-existence of an entity.

How wonderful would it be for an e-commerce company if they can have a software product or a tool wherein they can gauge how much time a customer is spending on a web page or a particular page and they in turn can pop-up customized message based on the intent and understanding of the need of the customer! For instance, a girl might be looking to buy a top (say) and then suddenly a pop-up message like, “hey, we have the most fashionable tops at lowest of prices, please click here.” or say, something like, “Do you need assistance in buying a top, please click here.”Connecto Blog

Won’t you feel wanted and catered to by this virtual sales person? And this indeed can go a long when it comes to acquiring and retaining a customer from the point of view of an e-commerce company.

This, I have cited for an e-commerce company in particular but can be made applicable to any other company, whether it be a broker looking to acquire leads, or be it a travel company like makemytrip.com which is on a constant endeavor to satisfy the customers’ thirst for choosing the best possible travel deals which fits in perfectly well with their budget.

And one such product/tool that does exactly what I have stated above is Connecto (http://www.connecto.io/). It can be called no less than a revolution in this world of digital marketing, wherein it can help the businesses understand their customers’ intent and buying behavior and in turn enables them to engage their customers in a more focused and customized manner, which ultimately shows up in increased sales and increased ROI (defined by the sales achieved per $ of money invested in digital marketing).

The wonderful thing about using this product is that you don’t really have to spend money like you would have spent, say on any social networking platform like the facebook or linkedin and even better is the ROI that you get by using the features offered by this product/tool.

My take on the product is:

If you are an e-Commerce company looking to increase your sales and customer base; if you are an NGO, trying to reach out to your investors or people in general;

if you are a property broker looking to generate more leads;

if you are a travel site looking to engage your customers in a better manner in order to increase your conversion rate;

if you are a blogger who wants to interact with your clientele which in this case happens to be the readers; or

if you are any person with any kind of presence on the internet in terms of having a website; you got to grab this opportunity of using this wonderful product which comes with an initial free trial period and then depending on the impact it is having on your businesses, you can decide to upgrade it or not. 

You just need to visit http://www.connecto.io/ and sign up for a call back and then the efficient customer service that these people have, will get in touch with you and will help you better your prospects of minting money. With excellent service, coupled with a team of programmers from  IIT Delhi, this seems to be the best bet when it comes to real time data analytics and constant and meaningful engagement with customers on a real time basis.

Source for Image: http://www.connecto.io/

e-Soch: Nothing but WWW

I am sure, by now, you know very well as to who Saty is. If not then surely you are going to find out now.

Yesterday, while having our usual conversation, Saty came up with one of the saddest news of his life. Yes! His internet connection had been marred by the thunder showers that had taken the city of Lucknow by surprise.

If you are wondering as to what’s the big deal in net not working, then you and me are on the same footing as this was precisely the question that I put to him. And as if I had opened the Pandora’s box, Saty indeed had his arsenal ready to be used on who else other than me:

Dude! Net is life. I feel so constrained when I am not on the net. As if the life seems to have come to a standstill. How many friends would be waiting for me to log on and solve their problems which they might be having with their girlfriends and I have got so used to solving them that I can’t but let them suffer without me even trying to help them out.

I am unable even to think about something. Every thought of mine comes from the net. I want to kill the BSNL people for having done this to me. They have brought me immense mental trauma and suffering. I am even thinking about filing an RTI for the same. Do you think it’s a good idea? And by the way, how much would it cost?” —–Saty

Well! The RTI won’t cost you much, but if you carry on like this, spending so much time on the computer, then for sure, you are going to have a hard time in the future.”—-Me

Why are you saying this? What’s wrong in spending time on net and interacting with people?“—-Saty

There is nothing wrong with interacting with people, but the question is for how long? To cite a few reasons as to why you shouldn’t do it: firstly, it is not worth wasting your time which can very well be used in constructive activities and even if you want to interact with your friends then also you don’t need to spend the whole day doing that; secondly, as many researchers have already found out, spending too much time on the net can not only make you addicted to the same but can also have drastic consequences for your health (e.g. eyes and neck); thirdly, you tend to start living in a virtual world of your own, away from the reality of life which is waiting to welcome you the moment you step out of your home. How can you be so naive about it?“—Me

Yaar, it’s not that I don’t know about these things. It is just that I have got too much addicted to it, and the moment I get up in the morning, there is a strong urge of me logging on to what you call the virtual world. People tend to know me here and give me importance for my nature and for the human being I am, where as in your real world, where materialistic success is the only reason why people might want to meet you, I think I am better off not making myself exposed to the same.“—-Saty

Hmm! I can understand what you mean. But for how long can you carry on doing like this? There will surely arrive some point when you will realize that enough is enough and that you need to get out of this addiction.“—-Me

May be, you are right. But for now I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen in the future. I prefer living in the current as the future makes me very nervous.“—-Saty

These were his last words before our conversation came to an abrupt end and I thought it not wise to carry on with the discussion. Firstly, because I, myself, didn’t have any answer to the perplexing riddle of the real World about the way it operates and secondly, because by arguing I would have made Saty more sad, sheerly because he too is aware of the consequences of what he is doing.

Though, it didn’t stop me pondering about an issue that is becoming more relevant in present day context. I have met people who think about nothing else but logging on. Their craving is so visible that they, at times, tend to ignore their bosses and their real World friends in order to being able to spend some time on the net.

It has also become an escape for those who are not able to do what they would have wanted to do in their lives and thus have decided to abandon the real World altogether. It has also evolved as a refuge for single mothers, or widowers, who are not able to overcome their losses and the societal consequences resulting from the same.

Indeed, our thought processes are increasingly becoming dependant on the very revolution that Tim Berner Lee would have thought to bring in this world by inventing WWW.

I know that this phenomenon is not going to dissipate in the near future and is here to stay. I just hope that people can extract all the positives from this phenomenon and can prevent any harm from occuring to them, as you know that there are always two sides of a coin and one side is never right.

Source for Image: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/oct/18/battle-dot-eco, http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-how-internet-is-creating-jobs-worldwide/20110527.htm, http://theinternet11.blogspot.in/

End of an Era: A Tribute to the Man

Stanford or no Stanford, it didn’t make much difference to the man. A persona hard to ignore, a personality you woudl die to listen to, a character much child-like and a zeal to be a winner, the man was here to live life on his own terms.

The destiny had very much scripted the story for him, but trust me, it was not an easy one. He too had to face situations where any other person would have succumbed in big time. But there he was, ready to fight his way out of every ambiguous and difficult situation.

He certainly contributed in a big way to what society is at present. He certainly changed the way the business was being done. He certainly changed the way entertainment was being defined.

All in all, a person whom one would want to look upto. A true inspiration indeed. The only thing that I can say is: Three Cheers to the Life that he lived.

Source for Image: http://popdose.com/steve-jobs-the-winningest-loser/

Television and its Increased Importance

The Idiot Box, as they call it, is no more an idiot box. It has something which even the movies don’t have, the large number of audience day-in-day-out who are very loyal to it and will not betray it at any cost.

The medium has done wonders to the lives of many. From restoring Amitabh Bacchan’s lost fortunes to increasing popularity of some stars of Bollywood, it has helped shaped many careers.

Yesterday, even Anna Hazare couldn’t stop himself from coming to the singing show Sa Re Ga Ma, for promoting his fight against corruption and reaching out to the people at the same time. It is an astute move from an experienced person like Anna Hazare and is indeed a very good strategy of making the people aware about the pros and cons of the Lokpal Bill that their side (the activist) is promoting.

With increase in the population of India, especially in the middle income group, the number of viewers for television are all set to increase manifold. And with this phenomenon taking place, the television is all set to become an even stronger medium of reaching out to the people.

Source for Image: http://provisionslibrary.com/?cat=62

http://vibhu.wordpress.com/category/life-in-general/