Chatbots offer a significant amount of potential in the business world, leaving many tech professionals wondering if learning to craft these unique pieces of software is a wise career move. While asking simple questions like, “How can I help you,” seems simple on the surface, the underlying code is actually incredibly complex.
Bots have to be able to recognize nuances in language and adjust their analysis based on context. They also have to learn to filter out space fillers like “um” and “uh” and remove pauses to get an accurate picture of what is being said.
If you are interested in building bots professionally, here are the skills you need to succeed.
A Variety of Programming Languages
Similarly, an understanding of Android and iOS can be important for creating mobile device compatible offerings.
Willingness to Learn
Since bots are relatively new entries in the tech space, very few professionals possess all the skills necessary when they are hired. Companies are interested in finding workers who not only have a strong foundation of technical competencies, but also a willingness to learn on the job.
Being a strong learner with an inquisitive mind and curious spirit can be quite attractive to hiring managers filling positions associated with the creation of bots, so showing you have the right combination of soft skills to fill in the blanks and solve problems can put you ahead of the competition.
Linguistics and Psychology
Part of the challenge behind bot creation is understanding how conversations unfold. Having knowledge in areas like linguistics can help you create more natural interactions, making the bot seem more engaging and well-rounded. Understanding the mechanics behind human speech is also critical, as poorly formed responses can leave a negative impression.
It is also important to understand the psychology behind customer interactions and how they value their relationship with the company. There’s more to dealing with an upset client than simply solving their problem, as language choice and the quality of the interaction can affect their overall perception of the encounter and ultimate level of satisfaction.
Currently, there are no formal educational programs focused specifically on the creation of bots. This means many companies aren’t finding what they need, giving you the opportunity to adjust your skill set to meet the demand increases that are based on this emerging technology.
If you are interested in exploring opportunities as a bot programmer or are simply seeking a new IT position in any specialty, the team at The Armada Group wants to hear from you. Contact us to schedule some time with one of our recruitment specialists and see how our services can help you find your next opportunity.
The world is full of advertisements. Whether it’s the commercials you view on television, billboards you pass during your commute, or banner ads you see on your favorite websites, advertising is everywhere. Now, ads are coming to VR, and they are likely to change your experience significantly.
Advr, a project by Google, is designing mechanisms for advertisers to reach you when you’re in an immersive virtual environment, though using an approach similar to the in-app popups most users just assume avoid. Here’s what you need to know about this emerging technology before it hits a screen near you.
Avoiding a Disruptive Experience
Part of what attracts people to a VR experience is the level of immersion. Most users are looking to escape a bit of their day-to-day, and VR entertainment certainly has the ability to transport the viewer. However, ads interrupting the experience is a counterintuitive approach, more likely to annoy the user than convince them to try a product or service.
With that in mind, Google is working to create alternatives to the traditional popups. For example, the Advr project team is working on a cube scenario where users have the option to engage with the object to view a video ad. By interacting with the cube, a video would open to show content. Then, a quick close is all that’s needed to return to the VR experience.
The approach is friendly for developers, provides a high level of customization, and is non-intrusive to the viewer. However, it’s not clear whether the ads would be fully avoidable. Google makes a significant amount of revenue from ad delivery, so having an option where users can avoid every ad, every time might not appeal to advertisers looking to hook customers.
Some speculate that VR apps may give users the option to avoid apps using the popular freemium model. This approach allows any person to enjoy the app free of charge, but often with limited functionality and/or the requirement to view ads. Freemium apps already exist in the VR space, often putting certain functions or additional content behind a paywall. Extending the practice to ads would seem natural, especially since it is already widely used in the traditional smartphone app space.
Since VR ad technology is still in development, it’s challenging to say exactly where it will go. However, with the proliferation of ads throughout the rest of most entertainment-oriented experiences, it won’t be surprising to see these ads become more commonplace once technology giants like Google figure out how to integrate them successfully.
If you’re interested in learning more about new developments in the technology space, are looking to hire an IT professional, or are seeking new job opportunities in your tech field, the team at The Armada Group has the industry expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to discuss your needs today.
With IoT gaining a lot of attention for its potential to revolutionize business operations and collect valuable data, more tech professionals are beginning to wonder if a career in the field is possible. However, even though interest has gotten a lot of vocal attention, consumers and companies aren’t rushing out to implement these solutions. Now, that doesn’t mean IoT isn’t a viable career, as long as you approach the opportunities wisely. Here’s what you need to know.
The Consumer Market is Lagging
Smart home devices have been on the market for some time. But, even with aesthetically attractive designs and potentially useful functionality, the adoption rate is still slow. In mid-2016, a mere 6 percent of households in the country had a smart device installed, and only 15 percent are expected to add one by 2021.
While a revolutionary product in the consumer market could shift these numbers, it’s unknown if such an offering will arise.
Commercial Interest is Stronger
Businesses see IoT as a method for connecting portions of their operations to larger systems through the use of sensors and software. Since improving production can lead to long-term cost savings, it’s no surprise that companies can see the potential.
IoT has the ability to increase efficiency and identify bottlenecks. These capabilities mean industrial organizations can learn to streamline their processes to improve profitability. That means that professionals interested in IoT careers will be best served by finding ways to use these skills in commercial environments, either through the development of solutions or the implementation and support of systems available on the market today.
Certain public sector organizations can also benefit from IoT, especially local utilities and energy providers and those performing similar functions. These technologies can make it easier for them to monitor usage across the system and determine whether certain improvements are worth the investment. It is estimated that 93 percent of such organizations have increased their involvement in such projects and approximately 30 percent of local government agencies will be leveraging IoT within the next two years.
What This Means for Your Career
Developers interested in IoT will likely be most successful by marketing their skills to commercial and public interests that have the ability to benefit from the technology. Yes, growth in the IoT arena is slow, but these organizations will likely be at the forefront of the implementation movement. And these markets are relatively wide and interspersed through the majority of the country.
Does this mean a career in IoT is viable? It can be, depending on your approach. If you focus your efforts on industrial companies and local energy and utility providers, then you may find suitable opportunities. But, if you have your heart set on the consumer market, it may be slow going.
If you would like to learn more about a career in IoT or are looking for a new IT position, the team at The Armada Group can assist you as you explore the available options. Contact us to see how our services can help you determine the best path for your career, regardless of whether you think a career in IoT is right for you.
For many, conference season is in full swing. These ventures can be costly but, with the proper planning, have a lot to offer IT managers in return. If you want to get the most out of your tech conference experience, here are some tips to help you manage these trips right.
Don’t Let Co-Workers Distract You
While many organizations can only send one person due to budget constraints or workload concerns, some companies try to send as many people as possible. While having more eyes on the ground may seem beneficial, most co-workers feel obligated to spend time together. This may serve as a great bonding experience but doesn’t mean you’ll get the most from the conference if it keeps you from being able to focus.
Additionally, coming in with a team may make it less likely you’ll connect with other people while you explore the conference. If you want to network, make sure your co-workers break away from time to time to allow everyone to meet new people and foster new relationships that could be beneficial.
Review the Session and Events Schedules
Before you even begin packing for the conference, take the time to review the session and other event schedules in advance. This gives you an opportunity to mark must-attend sessions and presentations first, giving you a framework for your time. Then, you can pencil in time for other activities, like exploring vendor offerings on the trade show floor. It will also let you know when you can safely break for meals or check in at the office without missing something important.
Ask Questions Often
To get the most out of a conference, you need to be prepared to ask questions along the way. Speakers, vendors, sponsors, and other attendees are often open to having conversations, so don’t shy away from approaching someone if you think they have valuable information you would like to learn.
And don’t feel limited by the content of a particular session or a specific product offering. If someone seems knowledgeable about a topic, ask for anything from book or blog recommendations to information about upcoming conferences they are interested in attending. You may learn something unexpected if you take a risk and branch out.
Split Up to Cover More Ground
If you attend the conference with other coworkers, considering dividing up sessions to help you access more information. By splitting up, you can attend more sessions and experience more collectively. This means your total amount of information acquired is higher and everyone has a somewhat different experience.
After the sessions are over for the day, consider meeting up for dinner and discussing key points about your conference experience. Not only can this make great meal-time conversation, but it also ensures everyone’s memories are fresh when they share details.
If you are interested in learning more about how to optimize your conference experience or are working to add a new member to your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can work for you.
An application is only helpful if users will adopt the solution. User experience (UX) professionals are tasked with learning about user preferences to help design solutions that are comfortable and intuitive to use. UX researcher focus specifically on gathering the needed data to thoroughly understand user desires, providing key insights to developers as they create a solution, putting them at the front of the development process. Here’s what you need to know about these professionals and how UX researchers lead product development efforts.
If your product doesn’t solve a problem for users, then it isn’t likely they will be quick to adopt the solution. UX researchers work with customers to help identify their needs and requirements for the final product. Often, they must use a variety of techniques to get the proper information. This can involve quick interviews, focus groups, usage diaries, and even usability testing.
Throughout these processes, UX researchers learn what does and doesn’t work for end-users, allowing them to create mockups and reports to help guide the actions of developers as the production cycle moves forward.
Sometimes, UX researchers are given information about a requirement or issue the end-users are experiencing, but not much guidance on how the users would like to see the product change. This means these professionals much be able to analyze the problem to come up with potential solutions. These efforts may be bolstered by a strong understanding of fundamental user behaviors as well as a creative and curious nature.
Once potential solutions are identified, UX researchers often must go back to the end-users for feedback, making changes as necessary to meet their requirements and preferences.
Not all research involves working directly with potential end-users; UX researchers often must look at sources outside of the immediate project for guidance. This can include previous product development efforts, and their associated successes and failures, as well as investigations into competitor products currently on the market.
Why UX Researchers Should Take the Lead
While some of the duties discussed above don’t intuitively need to be completed early in the product development cycle, it is important to realize that placing user experience concerns too late in the design process can be detrimental. If a product is beginning to take shape and is only later found out to not meet the needs of users, it can mean portions of the previous work must be scrapped or the project started over entirely.
By allowing UX researchers to get involved early and drive certain design decisions, you can be sure your developers get everything right the first time or that any needed changes are discovered early in the process.
If you would like to learn more about the value of UX researchers, are interested in hiring one, or are looking for a position in the UX field, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to discuss your needs and see how our services can work for you.
Social media bred new methods for reaching potential customers and loyal consumers of your product. Businesses began posting about new offerings, providing links to relevant news pieces, and even communicating with product or service users directly. However, these platforms also created social media influencers; people who are connected to large audiences based on a particular niche or point of interest. And, once companies realized these influencers could provide brands access to their followers, a new form of influencer marketing was born.
Many businesses see the advantage of getting these influencers involved, as it provides a method to speak with a large, similarly minded audience while eliminating some of the complexity. But, for one of these campaigns to be successful, it requires more than just connecting with just any influencer. To help ensure your company is ready, here are some tips on how to plan an influencer marketing campaign that will boost your brand.
Pick the Right Influencer
Just because someone has a lot of followers doesn’t mean they are right for your brand. While certain social media stars have wide, diverse audiences, many consumers look to subject matter experts when considering the validity of product or service recommendations. This means you need to choose an influencer who is seen as a guiding voice for your target audience. Otherwise, you might not get the results you were hoping to see.
Find the Story
Social media users aren’t necessarily going to respond to a generic add, no matter who sends it out. If you want to connect with these people, you need to connect the brand to a story that gets their attention. This is one of the reasons why picking the right influencer is so critical as it helps ensure the story you’re telling is something their audience wants to hear. Then, you can expand beyond the basic commercial length snippet of information and truly extoll the virtues of what your product or service has to offer.
While a paid post might help you get some exposure, it isn’t necessarily going to obtain the level of attention a more exciting approach may, and it won’t necessarily be overly appealing for the influencer either. Instead, leverage what they have to offer and then connect your brand to a unique experience they can enjoy that highlights the virtues of your product.
For example, talking about a waterproof phone case isn’t all that enticing. However, a video where the influencer really puts it through its paces, such as keeping it in their pocket during a whitewater rafting trip (ensuring they take a full dunk along the way) might gain more attention.
The idea is to determine what about your brand needs highlighting and identifying a way to do if that also generates excitement based on the basic nature of the content. Then, your campaign becomes more shareable, allowing you to reach beyond even your influencers immediate audience.
By combining your brand with the right influencer, an appropriate audience, and a unique approach, you could have the formula for social media gold.
If you are looking for a social media professional who can help you create the kind of marketing experience you crave, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can get you connected to talented job seekers in your area. Contact us today and see how our approach can help you land the candidates you need quickly and efficiently.
Bitcoin is something most people have heard about but have likely only encountered in a limited capacity (if any). This digital, decentralized “cryptocurrency” has the potential to revolutionize online payments and transactions, especially if lesser-developed nations, but it may also be a passing fad that gains little long-term traction. Regardless of this uncertainty, it is a presence in today’s marketplace.
Investors and proponents are excited about the ease at which peer-to-peer transactions can take place using Bitcoin. This is especially true when managing payments to, from, and between the unbanked in society. However, it's completely digital and somewhat mysterious, format leaves many concerned about its use and technological security needs. Add to that the volatile nature of the “currency” and even more challenges arise.
Still, Bitcoin’s potential to help nations develop and access global markets is hard to ignore, making it a game changer for many. Here are just some of the ways this financially-oriented technology is making an impact today.
Bitcoin eliminates the need for a middleman, such as a bank or corporate headquarters in a developed nation, allowing “funds” to be transferred to almost anyone who can access the internet. This means developing countries can transition money amongst themselves with greater ease and they can gain access to the wealth of more developed countries.
For example, a small nonprofit can receive Bitcoin directly as a donation. There is no need for it to process through a bank or central headquarters, speeding the time in which the funds are received and ensuring no part of the donation is redirected along the way. Similarly, local craftspeople can sell their wares directly online, eliminating the need to sell to brokers at a loss to get their products out into the world.
Shopping online is a norm for many, but unbanked members of society find doing so nearly impossible. Not having access to a debit or credit card, or even a checking account, means you practically can’t do business with certain companies. Bitcoin can alleviate this issue, as people don’t have to have a bank account to use Bitcoin.
Businesses interested in reaching these populations or selling goods or services in less developed parts of the world may want to consider accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. This technology change can help you access a greater part of the market, either nationally or internationally, and can create sales opportunities that may otherwise be missed. While making such a change requires some preparation on your part, especially the integration of a new payment alternative on your website, it has the potential to provide access to a whole new world of buyers.
However, to make the most of Bitcoin, you will likely need to hire IT professionals who are familiar with its use and how it can be integrated as a payment option for sales. If you would like help finding such a skilled worker, the team at The Armada Group can assist. Contact us today to see how our services can help you find the right candidates quickly and easily.
When many people think of Android, their minds automatically focus on smartphones and their range of apps. While these small pieces of software certainly play a big role in the lives of many, there is much more to be excited about in the world of Android. One of the developments that is worthy of extra attention is the Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) arena. With this technology, anything on the web can become part of the app store, allowing our phones to do so much more than ever before.
The Chrome OS is known for being an internet-heavy solution, and the adoption of new web standards is beginning to make even more information accessible at the click of a button, or tap of an icon. Here’s what you need to know.
More Than a Bookmark
At first glance, the icons created with PWA technology seem like a basic bookmark, providing quick access to commonly accessed content. However, they now bring more power into the equation, allowing for the creation of instant apps that operate on-demand but don’t require you to download anything onto your device.
These apps operate in a web browser but give you a fuller experience. This means you can play games, access complex web-based software applications, or take advantage of VR entertainment without committing valuable megabytes to the task.
A web-based app can also better leverage cloud-based technologies. For example, messaging can operate similar to traditional apps, allowing you to receive notifications and communicate instantly. It can also be easily connected to other files and programs, letting you connect with information stored in servers from across the world.
Where This Technology Will Take Us
Ultimately, the goal is to blur the line between apps from the Play Store and those created using the PWA standards. This allows for a harmonious user experience for any kind of application accessed with Android.
It will also ensure users who also favor Chrome OS and the Chrome browser get a consistent feel regardless of the system they use. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops will all exhibit new similarities, lowering the learning curve when using a new device and increasing user comfort overall. This can be especially beneficial in business environments where not every employee is as tech-savvy as the next, allowing those who are less familiar with technology to more easily adapt when new devices are provided to facilitate their work.
While this solution is still very much in development, the potential for it to make our work and personal lives easier to already apparent, especially when it comes to managing available memory and creating a user-friendly tech environment.
If you are interested in learning more about how this and other advancing technologies can help your workplace, are interested in finding a new position focused on Android, or need to hire skilled professionals to support Android system, the team at The Armada Group can help bring everything together. Contact us today and see what our services can do for you.
Artificial intelligence is getting a lot of attention in the business world, making its mark in almost every industry along the way. Information about new developments seems to pour in endlessly, creating a challenge when it comes to truly seeing what is happening in AI today. To help you see through the onslaught of news, here are some of the latest trends in the field and what they can mean for your company.
Almost every organization is watching the AI trend, but few have started the process of implementing solutions that take advantage of the technology. Much of this delay is related to the need for a highly specialized skill set to bring in these systems. Professionals with the required background aren’t readily available and obtaining the necessary skills isn’t a small task. However, there are new frameworks being developed that look to ease the burden associated with implementing and supporting these systems. Howdy’s Slack Bot and Facebook’s Wit.ai are both bringing point-and-click systems to developers, making the creation and customization of AI systems easier to manage.
Other tools also aim to simplify the implementation of deep learning models. Options like TensorFlow, Keras, and Bonsai are just some of those looking to bring more advanced AI capabilities to a wider market. Cloud platforms are also lightening the load on business eliminating internal infrastructure concerns. Collectively, this makes AI more accessible to all.
General purpose AI solutions are still something to look forward to in the future. Now, highly specialized systems are the standard, working to manage specific tasks or function in defined niches. While these targeted solutions aren’t viable across all industries, the cumulative efforts have a wide variety of sectors well covered. Organizations operating in such diverse areas as banking, healthcare, security, and production can all expect AI systems designed specifically for their needs, making them exciting developments for increasing the speed of business.
Data overload is a real issue for some companies, especially as they take advantage of the information provided through IoT and other mechanisms. While businesses want to harness the power of their data, overflowing amounts of information make it difficult to find value in the data. AI systems are being designed specifically to alleviate this issue, allowing for more efficient processing and parsing of information. Structured data extraction, natural language understanding, information cartography, and automatic summarization are all being considered for their information management capabilities and may make data overload a non-issue in the future.
As AI technologies become more robust, their ability to communicate with people improves. Developers are focusing attention on improving the emotional intelligence of systems, helping them interpret human speech more effectively based on word choice and even tone.
It is important to keep in mind that AI is still evolving, including in all of the areas above. Advances are being regularly made, but it will take additional time before these solutions can fully replace certain human interactions. Additionally, it takes a significant amount of IT talent to keep these systems functioning as they need to in order to provide the necessary value. If you are looking for professionals with AI skills to join your team, the recruiters at The Armada Group have the connections to find the ideal candidates. Contact us to discuss your needs today and see how our services can work for you.
As the excitement surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning continues to ramp up, companies have begun looking to the technology to improve a variety of internal operations and how they interact with customers. However, even the most competent AI has limits. Certain concepts are, at this time, distinctly human, and that means having the right people in your organization is just as critical as ever. Further, an AI is only as strong as the programmer behind the technology, meaning human intelligence will always play a role even when these solutions are put in place.
Typically, an AI is designed to handle tasks that require a significant amount of repetition, such as those some workers would even classify as tedious. By allowing such work to be managed by intelligent applications, your workforce can dedicate themselves to tasks that actually require human intelligence to complete. Overall, this approach can increase productivity and efficiency while also improving the bottom line.
For example, the use of automated ordering systems and chatbots are often based on the principles above, giving customers the support they need without employees having to be directly involved. AI is also highly valuable in the data analytics field as these systems are better equipped to identify patterns in large datasets than their human counterparts. However, there does come a point where the limits of these technologies are reached, and that’s where people come back into the equation.
When Human Intelligence Trumps AI
An AI can only go as far as the programming allows. That means there will come a point when the technology won’t have access to the data it needs to move beyond a specific limit and human intervention will be required.
Further, even the most well-programmed AI won’t be 100 percent accurate in its outputs, especially in areas where correlation does not mean causation. This means employees are still critical for vetting what an AI produces, ensuring that conclusions aren’t drawn based on faulty assumptions on the part of the system.
In cases where AIs interact with customers, it is important to understand that a program isn’t capable of understanding all of the nuances of human emotion and interaction. For example, a system cannot exhibit true empathy or possess compassionate understanding. When interacting with customers, both of these shortcomings can be problematic, so having the option to fail over to a person is critical.
The Bottom Line
While AI is undoubtedly changing how business is conducted and even how people manage their personal lives, the technology as it stands can’t fully replicate the human-to-human experience. They can only function within the limits of their programming and, while those borders are sure to expand with time, that means human intelligence is still a vital part of any solution, including those using AI.
If you are interested in locating IT professionals to help bring AI into your workplace through their unique experience and intelligence, The Armada Group can connect you with some of the best and brightest working in the field. Contact us to see how our expertise can help you find your ideal candidate.