A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013

A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013
A Practical Guide to SharePoint 2013 - Book by Saifullah Shafiq

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Growth potential of Metaverse Technology

What we once thought would be a dream has now turned into reality. All thanks to the technology which has given life to our ideas, connecting us virtually around the globe. There was a time when landline phones were the only option we had but now internet had made it possible to share content and information online on social media platforms or through virtual communities. Metaverse is becoming a dawning technology, swerving the internet and pushing us toward an unbarred virtual environment.

Many people have envisaged that Metaverse is an attractive visual representation or a mirror image of the actual world. In a superficial sense they are on the right track. Literally and comprehensively, it is a shared digital environment and a 3D virtual world that allows people to connect, interact, and socialize with one other by means of their digital avatars. The community driven aspect and the element of synchronicity has heightened the appeal of Metaverse.

There are several different components that together make up Metaverse and will provide you a clear view of this technology. Let’s skim through these.

1. Infrastructure: Every platform or technology requires an effective and highly planned infrastructure to operate and connect with individuals. In case of Metaverse infrastructure include the internet access/Wi-Fi, servers, personal computers and technologies such as cloud computing.

2. Decentralization: Decentralization is one of the most useful component, which helps you to openly and easily access metaverse. Apart from that, it provides flexibility (there are no restrictions). Agility makes it possible for you to move within metaverse without a hitch, as there is no centralized authority involved. Blockchain and artificial intelligence are examples of technologies that assist in decentralization.

3. Interface: Interface technology is important as it facilitates users to connect and join metaverse. Some technologies including AR glasses, brain computer interfaces, and haptics have made it easier for users to be a part of metaverse.

4. Spatial Computing: For live animations and an utterly worthwhile and mesmeric experience you require spatial computing which includes modeling tools, gestural recognition, sensors and three dimensional visuals. These are the cornerstone of metaverse technology.

There are a number of examples of Metaverse technology that highlights the potential growth of Metaverse and shows how it can transform and reshape the world in the future. In gaming world, gamers can buy apparel, accessories and other objects to enhance their player’s appearance and performance. This technology can also be used in real world and customers can virtually try the outfit before buying it. Similarly, through a digital model of their home interior they can get a preview of the furniture and other home d├ęcor items (they might choose to buy) to see how it looks and fits, before making an actual purchase. 
Here are few examples of Metaverse technology and how it is being used in gaming:


1. Second Life: This is a 3D platform which came about in 2003, and provides real time interactions to its users. People can also make their own personalized avatars effortlessly and unrestrictedly.

2. Decentraland: By inculcating 3D visuals, decentraland imitates reality and is based on Ethereum blockchain. It is a digital game where users socialize and engage with each other digitally. They can create and design their own digital environment, exchange items such as wearables for their avatars, and can even buy or sell their property.

3. Sandbox: Sandbox is also a metaverse game where players can monetize, sell, and share their property or assets in a virtual world. In return, they can receive real world money. This game is also made using Ethereum blockchain model.

Metaverse's success is grounded upon factors and technologies that make it more immersive and attractive for the users, in particular Augmented Reality (in which an interactive form of physical world is provided to the users by using effects and components such as sound, batteries, chips, visuals, graphics, texts etc.). Investors must do in depth research and reach out Metaverse professionals for an opinion before investing in this technology. One must carefully make a decision because Sandbox and many others such games are in their fledgling stage. Also, investing in cryptocurrencies is unpredictable and extremely volatile as prices continue to waver, just like what happened back in 2022.

Monday, January 30, 2023

A sneak peek into the field of Robotics

Previously the notion of going to the space, locating new planets and galaxies, or discovering new underwater species in the deepest pits of the ocean seemed far-fetched and unrealistic. But many such things on which scientists and experts have been musing on are now possible within fraction of seconds. With technological progress, Robotics have been outperforming humans assisting them in the space as well as underwater. They have been tapering off the burden of many tasks so that engineers can work on new developments. From everyday home cleaning to serving in restaurants by replacing waiters, these robots have both software and hardware applications embedded in them.

What is Robotics?

The term Robotics is an amalgamation of both engineering and computer science, where robots (machines) are trained to perform mundane and automated tasks for humans. It involves the designing, developing and operating of robots. There are five types of robots, each given different level of mechanical and intellectual capabilities. Let’s have a look at them:

1. Pre-Programmed Robots

These robots are sturdy and designed for some specific pre-defined tasks that humans cannot perform easily e.g. handling heavy items. Such robots are hardly controlled, guided or supervised by humans. They automatically carry out the activities they are assigned with great precision and efficiency, surpassing physical labor. These machines are quicker and even do monotonous work without exhaustion or altering their behavior, unless there is a technical glitch. One example is of car assembly line where they are responsible for the fixing of a door handle in the car, welding of a bonnet as well as painting or polishing different parts. They greatly reduces the production cost and minimizes human error.

2. Autonomous Robots

These robots are designed to work independently in an open environment. They do not require interference from humans or a mechanist to look after them, rather they just adjust themselves according to their surroundings. As there are sensors lodged inside them, they perceive and make the best decision by taking the right action. One example is of Flymo robotic lawnmower that trims your overgrown lawn.

3. Humanoid Robots

They function like humans and imitate their behavior. Humanoid bots have the ability to perform activities which we do such as running, talking, carry things etc. Examples can be of Actroid and Sophia. These are female bots who mimics human’s facial expressions and gives pre written responses if you ask them something.

4. Augmenting Robots

These robots are multifunctional and very helpful for humans. The main purpose of such robots is to help or improve humans existing abilities or serve as a substitute for their lost capabilities. Such robots are also called VR robots which makes human stronger and efficient by replicating their abilities and helping them to complete their tasks quickly. Augmenting robots is useful in medical field for example if a person’s leg or arm gets amputated it can be replaced by prosthetic machines or devices also known as artificial limbs.

5. Tele operated Robots

To some extent, these robots act independently and have some level of autonomy to work remotely in dangerous terrain or in extreme geographical circumstances. Having wireless feature, engineers can control them from a safe distance. For example, in disaster struck areas such robots can help to prevent gas leakages by turning off the valves. They are monitored by humans via screens and have special cameras embedded in them to give a better picture of the site. Such robots are given instructions by humans from command centers. These robots can also work underwater to fix a leakage in pipes in the form of submarines.

Applications of Robotics

1. Logistics and manufacturing

In terms of machines and industrial work, manufacturing sector can be called the pioneer for using robots. These robots work side by side with the workforce assisting them is product testing or in the assembling of materials and equipment. Similarly, in logistics robots play a major role in moving or transporting goods and products from one place to another in warehouses. From packaging, shipping, handling products, replenishing items on shelves to keeping quality checks these robots are time saving machines and ensures maximum efficiency is achieved. Many companies are now using robots for the speedy delivery of your parcel, making sure they reach right at your door steps.

2. Household Chores Robots

The daily household activities such as washing dishes or laundry, trimming plants, watering the garden, cleaning your pool or house all is done by robots now. You can now relax and watch your favorite shows on Netflix rather than hiring household help to do your chores.

3. Healthcare and Travel Robots

There are patients that require surgeries or physical therapy and visit medical practitioners or doctors for treatments. Many such professionals now take help from robots to recover their patients from injuries and illnesses. Robots are also replacing nurses by doing tasks such as bringing medicines and cleaning rooms etc. Pharmaceutical companies use them to do tests and trials. In travel sector, robots in the form of self-driving cars and vehicles are now in demand and renowned companies such as Volkswagen and Tesla are all drudging on it.

Robots are now everywhere, flabbergasting us with their human like features. They will rule in the upcoming decades by saving our time and money, ensuring employee safety and by enhancing productivity, so people and companies must learn to live and work with them.

 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Top 6 Social Media Platforms that you might choose for your Business

With close to 200 different platforms, social media has been swaying in present times as businesses heavily depend on it for the promotion of their product and services. From home remedies and DIY activities to how to set up your business, social media has always proved beneficial, increasing business visibility, helping in lead generation and sales. Talking about China only, it has more than 1 billion active users on social media sites and platforms. Marketers see them as their potential customers whom they can bombard with messages and ads. In future, they might end up being their loyal customers. However, not all platforms will suit your business as everything revolves around your audience and hinges upon what you are selling. So let’s head towards the different options available for you to vend your products and services.

1.      Facebook

With technology evolution Facebook is no longer the top most socializing app. For many youngsters it is now old school and other apps such as Instagram, Tiktok, WhatsApp and Snapchat has taken its place. However, many businesses from industries such as ecommerce, entertainment, financial, retail, consumer goods etc. can still engaging with Facebook audience (particularly those who belong to the age group of 35 and above). Though, Facebook’s news feed reins back many posts related to business, but you can still target audience on the basis of gender, education, age, employment, product preferences and purchasing behavior. But all this depends on your social media budget and whether Facebook’s policies allow you to sell those products (For example the promotion of cigarettes, vape and tobacco related posts are not allowed).

2.     Instagram

Instagram is a budding platform, since it has 500 million daily active users, mainly youngsters belonging to generation Y and Z. It is mostly used by small and large businesses and influencers. Unlike Facebook, on Instagram you don’t have to pay hefty amount on advertising campaigns in order to increase your followers or reach. You can do this without paying for it (through friends, acquaintances, WOM and other means). Instagram also offers visual features, in which you can post photos and videos along with content, without much advertising budget. Your brand image and personality can be enhanced by user generated content!

3.     Snapchat

If your target market are the teens and youngsters, then snapchat can be an effective way to interact with them. They stay active on this app and on average spend at least 20-30 minutes on it, daily. People can share photos and videos on snapchat either directly to friends or through their snapchat stories which is visible for 24 hours. The discovery section of this app contains videos related to advertisements, influencers, DIY and much more. Users can subscribe to get daily notifications and companies can pay for their advertisements that pop up at user's screen while they watch videos.

4.     Tiktok

Tiktok is a new app as compared to other social media platforms. However, it has gained considerable growth in the last few years. It was banned in few countries like U.S and India because it was more misleading for youngsters than entertaining. The app was launched in 2017, since then it has become popular among generation Z. You can post a 15 second video and even earn through this platform. The visual element of this app has encouraged many people to share product related reviews, informative and entertaining videos etc. The only way you can market and sell your products on this platform is through lauded tiktokers or influencers.

5.     LinkedIn

LinkedIn focuses more on job oriented individuals or B2B model. You can reach out customers through their profiles, job title and position or email address. It is not an ideal app in terms of marketing campaigns like Facebook. However, professionally you can target, contact and hire people for jobs.

6.     Twitter

Recently, the number of followers on this app are fluctuating and the engagement has wavered a lot. But there is room for growth for companies belonging to tech, entertainment, marketing, sports or political field. Brands can interact and engage with their potential customers with the help of hashtags. Just like Instagram, they can easily reach you out and search for your products.

To sum it all up, there is an extensive list of social media platforms through which brands can hone and sell themselves, but they must learn which platform is the best for their products by closely analyzing their target market and knowing what the particular platform is best known for.

 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Importance of Cyber Security for Businesses

In the recent years, one of the most noticeable disruption caused by Covid-19 is that it has impelled businesses to veer towards computerized system and rely more on technology. The pandemic has encouraged and made it a necessity for them to carry out operations from the comfort of their homes. With the rise of work from home jobs, companies are becoming prone and vulnerable to external threats in the form of cybercrime, hacking, phishing attacks and data theft. Thus, cybersecurity has become a prerequisite feature that all companies must have before fully operating and running their businesses.

Companies store large amounts of data in their systems, networks or data warehouses. This data is not only valuable but contains highly sensitive information which can be subjected to malicious activities from outsiders. So cyber security acts as a protective barrier against theft or damage. If you do not have a cyber security strategy or highly experienced engineers then you cannot shield your company from such notorious threats and activities. Many companies are shifting toward convenient and alternative methods such as cloud storage (Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive etc.) to store their data as a backup, but they fail to secure this data from cyber attackers who continue to intrude into your information storage devices.

What is Cyber Security?

In simple words, cyber security refers to all the processes and strategies implemented by companies in order to protect their highly sensitive and confidential information from cyber-criminals and data breach. Therefore, it is vital for companies to not only invest in technology but also in latest cyber security tools and programs. Such attacks can impinge a company’s growth, can cause financial downturns, harm its reputation, decrease its productivity and ultimately dwindle your business.

To prevent your business from falling into the trap of cyber attackers, there are few precautionary measures they should take:

Train your workforce: The first and the foremost thing that companies should do is to educate employees through cyber security training. Your IT engineers and security professionals are responsible for the Information Security and they must remain alert and watchful at all times. Apart from that:

·      A comprehensive training programs should be initiated, highlighting individuals’ role in protecting the company’s valuable data.

·       Awareness regarding cyber etiquettes should be given.

·       They should know how their actions might instigate attackers.

·     They should be given directions on how they can detect and deal with such threats while performing their daily task etc.

Make use of technology: By enforcing Privileged Access Management strategy companies can safeguard identities by controlling accounts that have systems access. By granting limited access to the employees based on their roles, the internal and external threats from attackers can be minimized.

Timely detection of a cyber-attack: Organizations have to be vigilant 24/7 and should keep a check on their networks and systems to make sure there are no suspicious activities taking place. Through cybersecurity monitoring, you can detect and combat a cyber-attack. However, if there is a slight delay then you might face dire consequences and might not be able to stop intrusion or respond to breachers immediately. 

Combating risks from other sources: There are risks associated with members who are directly or indirectly related to your business such as vendors, suppliers or other third parties. They have access to your systems and might pose a threat to your financial, operational or customer related data. While dealing with them, make sure you are adhering to your information security policies.

All in all, a multi layered cyber security system has become a need for all small and large businesses. They cannot solely rely on simple defense tactics such as anti-virus soft wares to save themselves from cyber criminals, because they are picking up pace in break barriers that hinder them from gaining access to your confidential information.

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Application and Future of NLP

In our bustling life we use a bunch of different technologies without even realizing or giving a thought to it. One of these technologies has become a very pervasive and hot topic recently, as world now hinges upon automation for a number of day to day activities. You must have heard the words Natural Language Processing from the perspective of Artificial Intelligence. Let's see how it’s making things easier for us.

What is NLP?

NLP is a branch of computer linguistics that empowers computer programs to analyze, interpret and derive meaning from the speech and text which are a form of human language. Emotions like excitement, sarcasm, sadness are difficult to delineate and analyze. But NLP has eliminated this issue. Its unique ability to decipher the natural language by machines have greatly reduced the need for manpower. NLP has become facile over the years. Companies have vast amount of data in the form of texts messages, audios, emails or videos which they receive from different communication channels. When you analyze this large amount of data your algorithms improve in terms of functioning.

There are several techniques that are involved in the better functioning of NLP, that have decreased the time to process the information by discarding or omitting inessential elements and simplifying the sentences. These techniques have also helped companies to achieve their objectives:

1. Sentiment Analysis

In this technique, sentences and statements are examined on the basis of sentiments or emotions. According to this analysis, human verbal and written communication in the form of sentences is assessed by looking at whether a specific chunk of the sentence elicits a positive, neutral or a negative response towards a certain subject. Marketers frequently use this technique in order to see the attitudinal response of consumers towards products, brands, campaigns, events etc. Advanced algorithms are more receptive in perceiving and recognizing emotions behind the sentences such as fear, anger, excitement, happiness or sadness etc.

2. Parsing

In this method the sentences are broken down into simpler form to deduce the meaning. By analyzing the words and their relationship with one another the algorithms are able to tell about their structure.  

3. Relationship Extraction

In this process, certain entities are fished out from a statement or a sentence to establish a semantic relationship between them. If you want to know something such as the "Products offered by Outfitters", you simply search it on Google and the right answer will appear on your screen. All this is done by using relationship extraction technology, the algorithm picks out the words such as "products" and "outfitters", forms a link between them and gives you a list of products that the company offers.

The NLP technology is used in several fields and provides a fast and efficient customer service while cutting down cost. Let’s look at its usefulness in terms of data science.

1. Forecasting the spread of disease

NLP technology has served the healthcare sector by detecting illnesses and anticipating the spread of impending diseases. By decoding the speech patterns, it gives a clear knowledge to medical practitioners regarding illness related progression (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder or depression etc.). This helps doctors to better understand their patients and their predicament.

2. E commerce

Competition is rising in e-commerce and companies must ponder over creative solutions to deal with the inefficiencies that occur while tending to their customers. They can use sentiment analysis tool to look for products that best satisfy their customer. Moreover, through the help of NLP they can go through the internet data to check their platform's performance. They can offer hyper personalized communication to their customers on the basis of social media listening.

3. Language translators

You can translate the online text in different languages and all this is not possible without NLP tool. One example is of Google translator that translates and converts pages into any language, eliminating the language barrier.

In short, NLP is picking pace and providing a unique form of interaction between humans and machines. You can take the example of Apple's Siri that provide virtual assistance, enabling you to make calls or send text messages through verbal communication. According to a study around 75% of the business owners want to adopt and change the way they operate in order to align themselves with the changing customer needs. Many are incorporating NLP models to interact and quickly respond to their customers, so there is no doubt that progress is being made in this technology.


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Blockchain Technology and Its Future

Blockchain has made a hit, recently. There has been a lot of murmur and rumbling among the investors regarding it, and without any doubt it has become a trendiest technology in the past few years. For a layman it might be a baffling term, but those geeking out over this subject might find this blog very helpful. So let’s delve deeper!

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain is a user friendly way of storing and keeping record of the information or transactions. To be more precise, it is a model that stores or keeps transactional data (which can be referred to as blocks) of people in some databases (also known as chain), through a peer to peer network. Blockchain is a safe and secure structure as each and every transaction is sanctioned by the owner’s signature in a digitalized way, so there are no issues of tampering or corruption of data. Through a nexus of computers, the transaction are distributed and duplicated. As blockchain is a digital ledger, it strongly prevents system from being hacked, reverted or manipulated. 

Blockchain technology has been underpinning applications from different sectors for example ecommerce, supply chain, banking and finance, health care, manufacturing etc. Such businesses manage their transactional information through in house teams or through external sources like brokers, financial analyst, or lawyers. This can be costly and time consuming procedure. Blockchain makes your transactions hassle free, transparent and less costly, cutting short this whole long process. Some people confuse this technology with Bitcoin but these two are not the same. Bitcoin currency itself depends on Blockchain to safeguard itself. 

Blockchain is an amalgamation of the below mentioned technologies:

1. Peer to peer network that has a distributed ledger

2. Cryptography keys: There are two keys in cryptography, private and public which makes transaction between two individuals easy and successful. These two parties are connected with each other through a network. Each party possess both these keys which helps them to produce a digital signature and a safe identity. These keys are responsible for the authorization and management of your transaction

3. A system to compute and store data or transactions and maintain network's record

Advantages and disadvantages of Blockchain

Some advantages and disadvantages of Blockchain technology are listed below:

1. Safe and secure: Blockchain's digitalized form of signature has made the transactions secure, without the risk of fraud or scam. Through this unique feature no one can copy signatures, data cannot be corrupted or altered by other users. As more blocks are added to the chain with updated information, it becomes difficult for hackers to make changes to it.

2. System is decentralized: Normal transactions usually require the prior approval of regulatory commission such as the banks or respective government departments. However, in the case of Blockchain transactions takes place mutually, through the agreement of both parties/ the users. This makes transactions faster, efficient, and trouble free.

3. Automated feature: Blockchain allows you to have automated verification as it is programmable and no middleman is involved in this process and payments are made automatically. This feature makes it more systematic and organized in terms of processes and actions. 

4. Fast and efficient: Unlike traditional banking systems which takes days for the completion of transaction, blockchain is a very convenient and a faster alternative. No other financial institutions are involved and it takes few minutes for a successful transaction.

Disadvantages of Blockchain

1. Cryptographic keys are required: One major disadvantage of Blockchain is that it requires both private and public keys. In case an individual loses his/her private key it can be very problematic and you will have to face dire consequences. 

2. Scalability issues: Another problem is associated with scalability. You can make specific number of transactions per node which makes the transaction process long (sometimes several hours to complete).

3. Immutability: Immutability is another disadvantage. Once data is recorded it is difficult to edit or make changes in it.

The four major branches of blockchain are:

1. Public blockchain Network

For this blockchain you do not require any permission. Anyone can freely join it, carry out transactions, or take part in the core activities while their identity remains hidden. Bitcoin, Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies are included in this. In Public blockchain network, there are no issues of corruption, centralization or security glitches. The nodes manage the network and also update the ledger. While the consensus algorithm establishes reliability by validating the information.

2. Private blockchain Network

This is mostly used by large companies and organizations where you require a consent or permission in order to be a part of the network. Private blockchain network relies on third parties for transaction and network administrator handles it. Customization options are available for security and accessibility.

3. Hybrid blockchain network

This is also called permissioned blockchain that grants distinctive access to authorized members. Many companies use this blockchain because it is very efficient. They can also decide who can take part in the network and in which transaction.

4. Consortium Blockchain

Just like hybrid blockchain it is a combination of private and public blockchain networks. But one thing that distinguishes it is that a bunch of organizations have to control and handle one consortium blockchain network. This whole procedure of collaborating with different organization to set up a network can be very complex, but once it’s operating it can provide greater security.

Ways to invest in Blockchain

There are several ways to invest in blockchain technology which can be very fruitful. You can invest in Bitcoin or Penny cryptocurrencies such as Stellar, Litecoin, Ethereum, Altcoin etc. Individuals can also invest is new businesses that are emerging and using blockchain technology. Apart from that, experts are also developing some apps to collect funds by using this technology and you can buy coins which can be a lucrative investment. In future an increase in the prices will be beneficial for you if the app gains popularity among the public.

Scope of Blockchain

There has been a paradigm shift in the financial sector since blockchain technology came into existence, stirring up many individuals who can have a prospective career in this promising field. It is a field that is being accepted globally, mainly because of its data security feature which effectively deals with money laundering and black money related issues. The potential threats to businesses are increasing so they are being touted and lured towards this technology in order to secure their data. Let’s see how it is progressing in different industries:

Cybersecurity

Blockchain has more scope in terms of cybersecurity. Since companies are vulnerable to external threats like illegal seizure of data or data tampering, cryptography encrypts their data. Also, the ledger ensures that sensitive data remains safe and verifiable.

Healthcare

In healthcare niche, blockchain can not only keep a safe record of the patient’s data but also assist in the smooth running of operations such as billing and payments.

Supply chain

The traceability feature of blockchain has revived the supply chain sector. As goods and materials pass through different processes, blockchain keeps a check on all the procedures. It overlooks the expenses, reduces human errors and tracks employment. Thus, minimizing the chances of fraud and enhancing reliability. It also helps in auditing, ensures that there are no time delays and easily maintains transparency. Blockchain can put an end to grey marketing and prevent the loss in company's revenues, too.

Financial Institutions

Undoubtedly, Blockchain has been consistent is delivering what it promised. After assessing the progress of blockchain many financial institutions have started investing in it, particularly because of the way it immaculately deals with the issue of black money. Governments are taking initiative to adopt blockchain technology in order to buff the economy through its transparent ledger system.

IT Industry

In IT industry, there are multiple cases of data loss, theft, hacking or human errors. All these are because of the centralized system, but blockchain addresses them by resisting the hackers and providing better security in terms of cloud storage.

Digital Advertising

Digital advertising has to face fierce competition from its rivals on daily basis. Sometimes failures are due to poor payment structures or domain name scams. Blockchain can help them to efficiently manage their budget and transactions because of its dependable and transparent nature.

On the whole, the hype about Blockchain is real and this technology is mounting because it is reliable and immutable. Since 2017, the blockchain and cryptocurrency are being considered as the most valuable assets in the financial market. The government of many countries are planning to participate in the open market by investing in digital currencies. In the upcoming years, there will be massive demand for experts in the field of blockchain. Though, blockchain is currently in a nascent phase but it has a long way to go and investing in it will not go in vain.