The Most Exciting & Innovative Tech Projects of 2019

With recent advancements in artificial intelligence, cutting edge security threats and more devices than ever connected to the Internet, 2018 proved to be a memorable year for the tech industry. Wondering what 2019 will bring?

Here are our top picks for the most exciting tech projects set to debut this year, featuring a few notable head turners from the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES):

The First Flying Car

Tech has certainly had it’s way with transportation as of late. Even among the reinvention of scooters, Ubers, bullet trains and electric planes, self driving cars have no doubt grabbed the headlines. That is, until now. Terrafugia has combined the features of an automobile and aircraft in it’s latest flying car dubbed the Transition. All of our childhood visions will become a reality when the vehicle comes to market this year. 

A Portable Solar Charger

Thought solar panels were just for your roof? Though still in it’s Kickstarter days, SolarCru’s foldable solar panels intend to have us all re-imagining what we think we know about eco-friendly energy sources. This revolutionary device is slated to offer an outdoor charging option and is compatible with a range of devices. 

Powered Exoskeletons

Samsung’s lower body exoskeleton made a splash at this year’s CES. The wearable device known as the Gait Enhancing Motivational System is intended to help in the rehabilitation process and can even provide a gentle boost during a workout by adding resistance or allowing it’s wearer to walk with less effort. Because if we can’t beat the robots, we mine as well become them.

Flexible Mannequins

The one size fits all mannequin may be in the past thanks to a start up called Euveka who’s mannequins are able to be reshaped in a matter of seconds. Whether it’s liquid or air pressure driven, this feat of genius will help showcase a multitude of body types and allow designers to scale up or down their designs to fit truly everyone. 

In House Concerts

Sony’s latest concept, 360 reality audio is working to incorporate a spatial dimension so that when songs are played through Sony’s new speaker, they will sound like they are being performed live. The company also intends to bring this new level of sound to other speaker systems, headphones and even streaming services.

Musical Coding

Sphero’s Specdrums aim to teach kids to code through music. The “app-enabled rings allow children to create and play music by using colors on a variety of surfaces as their instruments.” This tactile way of turning color into sound is groundbreaking in it’s ability to infer problem-solving skills that are necessary in the world of coding. 

At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

 

The Top 3 Locations for Outsourcing Software Development

Outsourcing software development has become an increasingly popular path for startups and small businesses alike. Instead of taking on the overhead of hiring employees in house, utilizing a remote workforce allows you to focus on your core business functions while growing at an affordable rate.

When it comes to outsourcing, there are a myriad of options available. One can opt to go Offshore, Nearshore or Onshore in terms of finding a remote workforce. Countries farther away are Offshore, those nearby are considered Nearshore, and Onshore means operating within your own country. Depending on your company’s origin, there are many pros and cons that come with selecting a specific location to outsource your software development needs.

While the U.S. and Canada each have tech reliant economies, the cost associated with doing business there tends to be higher and the demand for skilled workers has resulted in a shortage. Therefore, most businesses are left with the option to take advantage of the resources of a more global market. Here are the top 3 countries for software development in terms of quality and cost:

Latin America

While many South American countries including Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia are becoming increasingly adept in the tech world, Costa Rica is a popular choice when outsourcing software development work. Their top notch IT programs produce good programmers and their culture has embraced innovation in technology as well as the agile methodology of project management. 

Asia

While India and the Philippines are known for their IT services, China is the leader when it comes to the outsourcing industry in Asia. China produces twice as many graduates as the United States, and as a result has a vast tech advanced work force. Coupled with it’s growing economy, China is a hot bed for outsourcing software development tasks. 

Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe, Poland and the Ukraine dominate the field of outsourced software development work. Both have an abundance of educated software engineers as a result of rich STEM educational programs. 

Before outsourcing your company’s software development, you’ll want to properly vet each agency to ensure a high quality of work. Take language, cultural barriers and possible travel expenses into account as well. Countries with a stable and supportive government offer a more favorable business climate to operate in, and a difference in time zone could reduce the time to market or make communication difficult. 

At Number8, we help businesses optimize their operations with onshore, nearshore, and offshore outsourcing. Our teams–both foreign and domestic– provide effective communication and service that allow your business to grow at a rate that keeps up with your market. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

IT Job Prospects in 2019 and Beyond

As we kick start the New Year, many of us are looking to see how we can adapt and evolve our current skill set to better fit the future job market. Innovations like the cloud and artificial intelligence are transforming business operations as we know it and when it comes to careers in software and information technology in general, job opportunities are growing at a pace unmatched in other industries.

If you’re on the hunt for a new prospect, here are a few of the jobs and career sectors in tech that we anticipate to be the most in demand in 2019.

Business Intelligence Analysts & Data Scientists

Data is king and companies are now collecting it more than ever before. However, in order to best utilize the data that is being gathered, business’s of all kinds will need someone who is able to understand and see the patterns within it. Business intelligence analysts and or data scientists help process data and communicate trends to stakeholders in order to keep up with competitors, as well as grow and cut costs. These personnel typically bring to the table experience in analytics and reporting.

Security Specialists

While careers in security are certainly not a new addition to the job market, they remain an important component in software and IT.  From new finger and eye scanning procedures to the development of drones, security professionals are tasked with protecting customer data and company assets from sophisticated attacks and threats. As technology is implemented at every level of daily activities, it’s crucial that companies make doing business safe and transparent. Those looking to grow in the field of cyber-security must be knowledgeable of current compliance laws and regulations.

Developers & Engineers

Advancements in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, augmented and virtual reality as well as robotics and automation are vastly reshaping the job market in many industries. While most fear a loss of jobs looming, the integration of these applications makes way for more developers and engineers. From the Internet of Things to 3D printing of artificial limbs, there are a wide range of career possibilities available to those with a deep understanding of machine learning and complex algorithms.

Cloud Architects & Engineers

As more companies transition to storing and accessing files online, managing the cloud and hybrid systems alike are becoming a prominent responsibility in doing business. Cloud architects and engineers are in charge of developing, maintaining and supporting IT cloud systems and therefore need a wealth of programming and security skills.

At Number8, we connect companies with IT talent and software developers that are fully trained in agile product development. By encouraging talent to come up with creative solutions, they remain motivated and positively contribute to a healthy company culture. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page.

How To Design Your Office to Be More Productive

Where you work is just as important as what you do. Office designs have come a long way since the early 20th century and are still changing year to year. What makes for a productive office environment? There are plenty of details, both big and small, that can contribute to office productivity or create a distracting environment. From the lighting to the desk layout to the color of the walls, the environment you’re in is important for your success at work.

Open office space designs have received a recent uptick in popularity. The open design is thought to enable users to be more collaborative. It is also thought that open spaces prevent employees from slacking off due to the visual accountability they are held to. However, for some, open office spaces are seen as distracting and chaotic. There are plenty of companies out there who stick to the cubicle set-up or closed door offices and that method works for them. While it has been proven that office design affects employee productivity, the design of the space itself isn’t actually as important as the details within the design. There are certain aspects of the office environment higher ups should be paying attention to if they want to improve productivity.

Design Details That Influence Office Productivity

1. Lighting

Employees spend 8-10 hours a day in their office environment, so it is crucial that the office is adequately lit. Working in a well-lit area reduces eye strain, headaches, fatigue, and irritability. In a recent study, it was proven that productivity increases as much as 16% when employees are placed in a well-lit workspace.

2. Ventilation

Just like lighting, ventilation is another crucial detail to consider when designing a productive workspace. OSHA estimates that employers lose a total of $15 billion annually “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave” that is associated with low air quality. Installing air filters and incorporating fresh air will improve productivity, lower absences, and save the company money in the long run.

3. Color

Color is a huge part of office design and picking the right colors to incorporate can effect productivity levels. Blue is a color proven to increase productivity. Orange is another color that promotes energy, so it is often used on office walls. If blue and orange are not colors you prefer, a study from the University of Massachusetts shows that incorporating any color in office design promotes creativity and improves morale.

4. Office Furniture

Of course, it is important that the desks and chairs in your office look nice and appear professional. However, it is more important that your employee’s desk spaces fit their bodies correctly. There are a few quick checks you can do to make sure a desk space is ergonomic including:

  • Eyes are two to three feet from the computer screen.
  • The top of the monitor is at eye-level or slightly below it.
  • Feet are resting on the floor or a footrest.
  • A chair that can be adjusted for height and recline to relieve spinal pressure.

5. Temperature

It is a common misconception that a colder office is a more productive environment. Most offices are kept around 66 degrees for this reason. In all actuality, a warmer office environment can lead to increased productivity. A study from Cornell linked “warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity”. The study also determined that an ideal office temperature is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

These five design details are a great place to start for those looking to make their office spaces more productive. Regardless of where you work, consider lighting, air quality, your desk area, and how you’re physically feeling. If you are going through a phase of being less productive than normal a slight switch up may help.

Why Mistakes are an Important Part of the Creative Process Even in Tech

Those in the Information Technology field know that software development doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s collaborative and often times risks need to be taken in order to achieve any level of innovation. With risks come mistakes and projects that don’t always pan out as planned.

However, IT teams that follow the agile methodology tend to be familiar with the ideology that mistakes are an important part of the creative process. The agile way of developing tech is adaptive in that it is designed around embracing feedback and learning opportunities.

As Albert Einstein once said, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Here’s why you shouldn’t let the fear of making a mistake keep you or your team in your comfort zone:

Mistakes let us know what doesn’t work and paves the path for what could.  

When it comes to developing something new or going into uncharted territory, mistakes are bound to happen. But with experimentation comes discovering a new way of doing something and that is almost always value added. By pivoting and testing new ideas, one is better able to evaluate and refine a product or idea and then learn from it. 

It’s not the mistake that defines an employee, but how they rebound from it.

If mistakes are inevitable, a team should know how to handle them. Take the stigma out of it, and you’ll find that enabling a team to make mistakes means also giving them the opportunity to problem solve effectively. Employees who take accountability for their mistakes and are able to learn from them are a valuable asset to any company. Instead of creating a culture of fear where one tends to get defensive if a mistake is made, establish one where everyone feels empowered enough to innovate and safeguard for the future.

At Number8, we help project managers connect with highly trained and efficient IT support to help reach company goals. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!