Comparing Smart Assistant Software: Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa

April 23, 2020 / in IT Trends, / by Number8

Smart assistant software like Siri, Google, and Alexa have made life much easier for technology users. It is now possible to ask questions, look for directions, call people, or even send a message without physically interacting with your mobile device. Smart assistants have also expanded out of the mobile phone platform over the years. We now have smart speakers, devices like smart TVs, home security systems like Nest, and so much more. All of these devices are powered by Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa. Every AI assistant has something unique characteristics. Here's a brief comparison of each system.

Alexa

Alexa was developed by Amazon and introduced with the Echo speaker in 2014. Since then, it has become one of the most popular smart assistants available on the market. Alexa has the longest list of compatible devices. It works with FireStick, FireTV, Echo devices, and even third-party products like FitBit and some cars. That's one of Alexa’s biggest advantages. The compatibility with different devices ensures it is one of the more versatile and user-friendly products available today. Alexa can be used to perform several tasks like playing music, setting reminders, running timers, finding information, reading news briefings, and even shopping. You can use Alexa to buy products on Amazon without logging onto the app. However, Alexa isn't as genuinely mobile as Siri or Google Assistant. While there are ways to ingrate it with Google or Apple Devices, people often use it on native devices. If you're looking at a smart home assistant, Alexa is the best option. Alexa’s compatibility with Amazon FireTV or Stick makes it an excellent tool for regular users. They don't need to browse through content through a mobile phone or even use a remote. They can request different movies or shows through the smart assistant.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant may not be as popular as Alexa, but it is the most dynamic, versatile, and robust AI assistant available today. It was launched back in 2016 as a part of Google Now but has grown considerably since then. Google Assistant is highly compatible with a wide range of devices, including some third-party products. It works seamlessly with all other Google offerings like Play Music, YouTube, Google Calendar, Contacts, Gmail, and so much more. It is also compatible with home devices like Google Home Speakers, Nest, and a few other third-party devices. Some companies have incorporated the AI into their consumer electronics like Smart Displays, Wear OS watches, earbuds, headphones, Nvidia Shield, and more. Google Auto has gained popularity in the automobile industry and is used in many cars. This AI assistant does everything Alexa does, but it has a truly mobile reach. You can carry it with you on an Android device or even download it on an iOS device. The AI gives users access to Google Maps and other such useful applications while they’re outdoors.

Siri

Siri is a relatively popular and very well-known smart assistant, but it lags behind Google Assistant and Alexa in terms of both functionalities as well as compatibility. It is one of the oldest AI assistants and has a cult following among Apple users. It was first introduced back in 2010 and has evolved considerably over the years. Siri has a great personality, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular. It does all the tasks you can expect from a smart assistant but isn't as effective in pulling information or understanding commands as Google Assistant is. Unfortunately, this AI is also only available on Apple devices, so there is no third-party compatibility. All AI assistants are evolving constantly and will continue to become more refined as the years pass. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.

Fostering Long Term Business Partnerships – 5 Things To Know

April 16, 2020 / in Tech Advice, / by Number8

Building and running a successful business isn't easy. Every aspiring entrepreneur needs practical and hands-on support from employees, mentors, and business partners to succeed. Hiring employees and getting mentors requires work, but it isn't as complicated as acquiring or maintaining business partnerships over the long term. Here are some things you need to know to develop successful partnerships:

  1. Build Connections and A Network

    You won’t find trustworthy associates without putting in some real effort. Many people end up partnering with their friends or relatives, but sometimes that does more harm than good. Business owners should work on building connections, finding like-minded people, and developing those relationships. During this process, you may stumble across a great partner who shares your vision, brings fresh ideas or resources to the table, and has a compatible personality. You can build a strong business based on this foundation.
  2. Be Authentic and Genuine

    It is impossible to build a business relationship, or any partnership, based on lies. Business partners should be open and honest with each other to have a strong bond. False personas, sugar-coated business proposals, and dishonest communication can hamper the relationship. Entrepreneurs should be clear about risks, potential rewards, level of commitment required, and other such factors. Open communication at the beginning can help a partnership grow stronger over time. This is especially crucial for the first few months of establishing a business.
  3. Set Common Goals and Values

    Goals and values are the guiding lines that help partners remain on track. It is easy to lose track of all goals or values once you’re involved in everyday management. That can lead to miscommunication, errors, or even a company-wide crisis. Before you start a partnership with someone, establish a set of values, ethics, and targets. Make sure they’re on the same page and agree with these guidelines. Ask them to contribute their thoughts or ideas to ensure your foundation is stable. Many long-term partners regularly look over their goals or values to ensure they still agree with them. Updating targets is a part of running a growing enterprise.
  4. Show and Earn Loyalty

    1. Set Realistic Expectations

      Business is a risky battleground and partners are fellow soldiers. Such a relationship requires trust and loyalty, without which your partnership will collapse quickly. Make sure business partners know you have their back and will support them. Share their load, trust them with important tasks, and keep communication lines open. All of these actions will help build a bond of loyalty that will stand the test of time. Respect a business partner’s abilities and take all of their advice seriously. If a partner feels valued, they are more likely to value you in return. That helps develop a healthy long-term relationship, especially in a competitive environment.
    It is common for entrepreneurs to expect more from their partners than reasonable. Just because you are willing to sacrifice weekends or skip family commitments doesn't mean a partner will do the same. Everyone has different priorities and you must respect them. Set realistic expectations regarding how much engagement you can expect from a partner. A comfortable partnership involves working together to lighten the workload while still getting a lot done. That will happen even if you work more reasonable hours. It is also essential to be fair and straightforward. A business partnership will fail if your partner doesn't get adequate compensation for their work or commitments. Make sure they get their fair share of profit for their invaluable contribution. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.

Seven Reasons Why a Growth Mindset Is Better for Business

April 9, 2020 / in IT Trends, / by Number8

Many leading global corporations consider Growth Mindset as a defining leadership principle and a core skill that helps people adapt and succeed in increasingly disruptive times. Having a Growth Mindset is about staunchly believing that every failure is a learning opportunity and that it is possible to improve. The idea is to challenge oneself and let one’s attitude and efforts determine one’s abilities. The principle also propagates the idea that criticism and feedback are constructive and that trying new things is something you look forward to. Here’s a look at how a Growth Mindset is good for business.

How a Growth Mindset Helps Improve Your Business

1. Improved Revenue

Applying a Growth Mindset culture keeps your employees more engaged and makes them more resilient in times of constant change. As your team evolves and learns, it leads them to success in the workplace.

2. Risk-Taking and Accepting

Failure is an inevitable component of growth. Adopting a Growth Mindset is about accepting the possibility of failure at some time or the other. However, creativity, innovation, creativity, and boosting business success would not be possible if you aren’t willing to take risks. This risk-taking approach starts at the top rung of the ladder in any organization. Leaders have to set an example while empowering their staff to adopt leadership roles. They need to allow employees the flexibility to try new things and fail sometimes; this is how they can learn from their experiences and failed attempts.

3. Change Adds Value to Your Business

When you allow your employees to move out of their daily routine, it becomes more than just their regular job. It helps them develop new skills that may be outside their day-to-day work, which can prove valuable to them and your business.

4. Improves Productivity

Learning other's roles and understanding more about them go a long way in promoting collaboration, empathy, and encouraging new ways of doing things. When you allow your employees to set some time aside to build skills like leadership and collaboration, it inspires them and improves their productivity.

5. Creating New Opportunities

When a business owner uses the Growth Mindset while honing the culture of their company, it has a positive impact on the operating model. It helps them and their teams look at challenges as opportunities rather than threats, and reinvent themselves and boost their effectiveness at work.

6. Gets Teams out of Their Bubbles

Openness to change and self-reflection become the foundation of success. It isn’t difficult for employees and managers to get caught up in ideas that reinforce their beliefs. The Growth Mindset is about seeking out sources of new information and questioning existing beliefs to widen your perspective.

7. Encourages Commitment From Employees

Employees at companies that focus on a Growth Mindset feel much more committed to their work. They feel they are given the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. They are more motivated because they realize that their hard work and development is valued. Research indicates that people working in Growth Mindset companies pursue more innovative and novel projects. They cut fewer corners, behave more transparently, and work collaboratively. These motivated employees drive innovation and catapult the business forward. Overall, the Growth Mindset is about expanding, advancing, and developing horizons and opportunities for learning and evolving. It's about encouraging people to recognize potential and opportunity in every failure and success. As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to become more efficient and increase profits. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.  

Distributed Teams: What You Need to Know

Distributed teams have been commonplace in many industries for years. With the recent uncertainties faced by companies in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, remote work has become a necessary adaptation for even more organizations. As many teams adapt to a distributed model in the short term, it’s helpful to consider some of the pluses and minuses involved. Fortunately, there's a lot to learn from teams do distributed work. Here’s what you need to know about distributed teams.  

What is a Distributed team?

A distributed team is a team that works together remotely across any distance. Unlike in traditional office models, they do not share physical office space. People in a distributed team can be located anywhere- they may be in the same city, or all over the world. 

Challenges

One of the most challenging parts about distributed teams is relationship cultivation. Without regular and spontaneous physical interaction like in an office space, it can be hard to develop and maintain rapport as a team. This can have a negative impact on spur of the moment clarifying questions, feedback, and general information sharing. One way to mitigate this is to schedule regular check-ins through a communication channel. A daily or weekly meeting can really help curb unnecessary delays in communication or misunderstandings.   Another challenge for distributed teams is related to boundaries. When people are working remotely, there is no shared sense of physical space and time. As such, it can be difficult to navigate expectations of when work should occur, where it is occurring, and the like. It can be especially tough to set boundaries between home life and work life for teams, especially if they are working at home. Further, if team members are working across time zones, work overlap can vary drastically.  It’s important for everyone to discuss time boundaries for working and communication. The relative degree of flexibility or rigidity required for different teams and team members should be explicitly defined up front. When everyone has a clear sense of their role, they can better adapt to challenges as they arise. 

Benefits

Despite the challenges, there are a few notable benefits of distributed teams. For one, if the team is distributed over time zones, around-the-clock work may be reasonable. If planned for properly, this can help lead to extremely efficient work timelines.  Remote work also allows a large degree of flexibility for teams. Team members may be able to easily work at times they normally wouldn’t in the office. This can lead to both high productivity and the ability to meet challenges on the fly. With the right balance of team overlap and individual flexibility, a team can truly thrive when distributed.   As an information technology company with many years of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of clients leverage technology to build distributed teams. Interested in learning more? Let’s connect. Send us an email or give us a call and we can get the conversation started.

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