The Difference Between Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrency

It seems like everywhere you look these days, someone is talking about blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. But what do they actually mean? And are they the same thing?

This blog post will break down the differences between blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and explain why businesses should be paying attention to both. We’ll also give some examples of how businesses use both technologies to power their operations. So read on to learn more.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that records transactions in a digital public or private database in chronological order. “Blocks” of verified transaction data are added to the chain, creating an immutable record of all activity on the blockchain.

Blockchain technology can create both public and private blockchain networks. A public blockchain network is one where anyone can join and view the transaction history, while a private blockchain network is “permissioned,” meaning only authorized users can access it.

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Blockchain is distributed across a network of computers, with each computer or “node” having a copy of the entire database. This makes it incredibly difficult for someone to hack or tamper with the data, as they would need to update the copy on every node in the network simultaneously. In addition, blockchain technology enables users to anonymously record and verify transactions without a third-party intermediary. This not only makes transactions more secure but also reduces transaction fees.

Blockchain technology came to the surface with Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper in 2008. It has vast applications, including in cryptocurrencies supply chain management and voting.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Most cryptocurrencies are decentralized and not subject to control by the government or financial institutions. They’re often traded on decentralized exchanges and can be used to purchase goods and services. Some popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

The organic nature of cryptocurrency is its most defining feature. It is not issued by any central authority and is therefore immune to government manipulation or interference. Cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology.

Blockchain constantly grows as “completed” blocks are added with a new set of recordings. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. Cryptocurrency nodes use the blockchain to differentiate legitimate crypto transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere. This can’t be possible with a credit card.

Essentially, blockchain provides the backbone for cryptocurrency transactions by allowing for a decentralized ledger of all crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency is built on blockchain and allows for digital currency transactions without a third-party intermediary.

What Are The Key Differences Between Blockchain Technology And Cryptocurrency?

There are a few key differences between blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.

Nature of blockchain vs. cryptocurrency

Blockchain is a decentralized technology with no central authority that controls it. On the other hand, Cryptocurrency can be decentralized or centralized, depending on the currency. Bitcoin, for example, is a decentralized cryptocurrency, while Ripple is a centralized cryptocurrency.

Use

Blockchain is the underlying technology that powers cryptocurrency. It is a digital ledger of cryptocurrency transactions. Cryptocurrency is built on blockchain and is primarily used for digital financial transactions (storing wealth, making payments, or investments).

Blockchain has a wide range of other potential applications beyond powering cryptocurrency. It could be used to create a decentralized database of medical records or track the movement of goods through a supply chain.

Value

Blockchain doesn’t have monetary value and, therefore, cannot be used to measure wealth. On the other hand, cryptocurrency has monetary value and can be used to measure wealth.

 

Potential Security Risks Associated With Blockchain Technology Or Cryptocurrency

As with any new technology, there are always potential risks associated with implementing blockchain or cryptocurrency into business operations.

a.    One of the biggest concerns of security in cryptocurrency or blockchain is the possibility of hacking. Because blockchain is a decentralized system, it is less vulnerable to hacking than traditional systems. However, there have been cases where hackers have been able to access wallets and steal funds.

b.    Another risk to consider is the volatility of cryptocurrencies. The prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can fluctuate wildly, making them a risky investment for businesses.

c.    Finally, businesses should be aware of blockchain and cryptocurrency's regulatory environment. In some countries, such as China, ICOs are banned outright. In others, such as the United States, regulations are still being developed.

 

How Businesses Are Already Using Blockchain Technology Or Cryptocurrency To Power Their Operations  

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While still in its early stages, blockchain technology is beginning to be adopted by businesses across various industries. Here are a few examples of how businesses are using blockchain to power their operations:

Get Blockchain Technology for Healthcare

Blockchain technology is something that is often misunderstood. However, it has the potential to revolutionize how data is shared in a secure way between different parties. If you are looking for a way to use blockchain technology in your business or industry, please contact us. We have experience implementing this cutting-edge technology and can help you get started on using it in your organization.

Can A CRM Help With My Senior Care Community?

The National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and care (NIC) recently reported that senior housing occupancy in the United States has been lowest since 2020. Therefore, your senior care community needs to stand out to get more clients.

The method you use to store, collect and retrieve data on leads in your community’s sales cycle is important. It helps determine how easy it will be to convert prospects to residents in your senior care community.

Initially, senior living communities tracked leads and managed client relationships with spreadsheets or the usual pen and paper. However, with advancements in technology, spreadsheets may no longer be efficient. Most successful senior care communities use a software called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to track leads and manage client relationships.

This article discusses CRM in detail. We will look at what it is, how it will help your senior care community, and why you should consider it.

What is a CRM?

CRM software is a tool that senior care communities use to market, manage sales, and build relationships that provide referrals and build occupancy. The software achieves this by centralizing customer data from various sources, thus making it easier for you to make intelligent business decisions.

A CRM also allows you to maximize referrals and leads through automated communications and tracking interactions. You can actively engage with people listed in your software. Doing so goes a long way in converting them to residents.

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How CRM helps you engage with prospects

Seniors, especially those living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive impairment, require a high level of care. For instance, if the senior has dementia, they will need to select one out of many memory care facilities that prioritize dementia care.

Since relocating to a senior community involves uprooting their entire lifestyles, seniors or family members taking care of them know it’s a big decision. It is only natural that prospects will research senior care communities as much as possible and ask questions when they need clarification. Your job is to provide them with all the relevant information and answer any questions.

Actively engaging with prospects makes them perceive your community as knowledgeable. It also shows that you care about their welfare.

CRM makes engaging with prospects relatively easy through automation. Additionally, when your community’s representatives contact prospects in real life, you can track and monitor their performance. Generally, CRM platforms ensure you don’t lose any leads.

Why use a CRM in your senior care community?

Building relationships is critical in every senior living community. You may initiate relationships through interpersonal interactions, personalized tours, and marketing campaigns, but you still need to turn prospects into clients.

Since most communities have several team members and prospects, there is a need to maintain trusting, consistent, and strong relationships between prospective clients and the brand. This is where a CRM comes in.

A CRM system consolidates client information and manages client relationships on your behalf. Below are ways a CRM can help your senior care community.

Capturing leads and critical information

With CRM, you can easily capture and store data on prospective residents in a centralized location. By doing so, you can see what information they are interested in and track your interaction with them.

This information will also come in handy in care planning when the prospect becomes a resident.

Nurturing prospects to increase occupancy

A CRM enables you to stay in touch with your prospects and build relationships with them. You can collect data on their goals and interests and save the information to your CRM to deliver a personalized experience.

The CRM can easily create personalized communications to tailor-fit the prospects’ profiles so that the information they get is what they need.

Increased insight

A CRM software enables sales and marketing teams to view relevant data and prospect statistics. This way, you can tell which audiences you have been more successful with and which ones require more effort.

A CRM solution also helps you and your staff make appropriate follow-ups.

With increased insight, your sales process will be highly effective since you know exactly where you need to focus. The prospect report from a CRM helps you prioritize the strong prospects you can potentially convert to customers. You can use various marketing and sales tactics on these prospects, including direct mail and targeted online advertisements.

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Automation

A CRM will reduce the response time of your senior care community through automation. The CRM tools change the reporting process from manual to automated. You can filter the automated dashboard to display as little or as much data as you want.

Additionally, the software can schedule follow-up e-mails or calls and issue post-tour surveys. Using this technology can also reduce human error, saving you a lot of time and resources.

Automation also allows you to reallocate valuable resources. Instead of focusing on data entry or management, you can build meaningful relationships with prospective clients. Additionally, you can follow up on your prospects faster. This way, they will deem your senior care community reliable and responsive.

Improved reporting and analytics

Your CRM allows you to manage all your data in one place. You can use it to generate reports which present and interpret essential data.

Additionally, you can monitor your sales and marketing team’s performance and analyze sales activity, trends, and referral sources.

Revenue tracking

A CRM automatically allows you to cross-reference the revenue you have earned with your marketing efforts.

With a CRM, you can quickly evaluate how effective your marketing methods are by tracking your margins and comparing your expenditure and revenue. Together with demographic insights, this information will help you focus on audiences with a higher purchasing power.

Get started with CRM for your senior care community

CRM is an essential tool for every senior care community. It promotes efficiency and helps turn prospects into customers.

Our CRM is tailor-made for senior care communities. Contact us to get more information on how our CRM tool will help you. It is designed to build occupancy in your senior care community and make more profit in the process. We would be delighted to show you how our CRM tool can seamlessly integrate into your community.

 (877) 472-5587

Tracking Vaccinations In A Senior Living Community

Immunization records are essential records that track your vaccination history from when you were a baby to the present. It is essential for older adults, especially those 65 and older, to have an immunization record. Additionally, the record should be up to date.

This article discusses immunization records for seniors. We will discuss its importance, tracing vaccination records, and what to do if you don’t get any records. Additionally, we will discuss the best way to keep track of vaccinations in senior living communities.

Importance of vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that every year, thousands of people are hospitalized, develop long-term illnesses, and even die after contracting illnesses that could have been avoided had they been vaccinated. Older adults are especially at high risk.

Some of the vaccine-preventable diseases that prove fatal are; flu viruses (including seasonal flu), pneumococcal disease, HPV (which is a risk factor for cancer), tetanus, influenza viruses (including influenza flu), shingles, and pertussis, among others.

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The CDC ensures that the vaccines people get are safe. Some studies suggested there is a link between the flu vaccine and Guillain barré syndrome (GBS), especially in older adults. Research has shown that the exact cause of GBS is still unknown, and there is no evidence that the flu vaccine causes GBS.

Are vaccination records vital?

Most people assume that vaccines are just meant for kids, but that is not the case. Although you will receive most vaccines when you are just a few months of age, you may require booster shots when you become an adult.

Vaccination records are critical for seniors because other than health care providers in senior living communities knowing which vaccines they require, they can also give them booster shots for vaccines administered when they were younger, some of which are relatively new.

Tracing vaccination records for seniors

Unfortunately, no organization maintains vaccination records, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The only records you may find are those parents or caregivers are given when the vaccines were administered and the medical records of the clinic where the vaccines were administered. Therefore, it is up to every individual to gather their vaccination records.

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Tracing vaccination records for seniors can be a daunting task. Therefore, it would help to have a comprehensive plan on how to go about it.

To trace vaccination records for seniors, there are specific places you can check. Here are a few tips.

  1. Ask whether they have records of their childhood immunizations. Most times, the records are passed on from their parents or caregivers.
  2. Check documents they saved from their childhood; this includes any baby books.
  3. Check with their previous employers. Some employers have specific vaccination requirements, so you’ll be able to tell which vaccines the senior got.
  4. Check with schools that the seniors attended. Some high schools and colleges keep such records for several years.
  5. Check public health clinics where the seniors frequented.
  6. Consult their doctors.
  7. Check with state health departments. Some of them keep immunization records, but they may not be for people of all ages.

Once you get all the necessary vaccination records possible, take them to the senior’s doctor and request that they be compiled and uploaded on an official immunization record and other relevant registries.

After that, store all the documents you gathered in a safe place for future reference.

What if you can’t get any records?

If you tried all means but couldn’t get any records, consult your healthcare provider. There are specific blood tests that can reveal whether or not the senior received certain vaccinations.

However, there are instances when the senior will have to be vaccinated again, especially when there are no records and the blood tests do not prove that the senior is immune to specific vaccine-preventable illnesses. 

Note that the vaccines are safe whether or not the senior received them earlier. In the long run, the vaccine will reduce the risk of them succumbing to various illnesses.

Keeping track of vaccinations

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Today, most people move every few years and change healthcare providers in the process. Therefore, getting old vaccination records may prove difficult as well as time-consuming.

You must keep track of the vaccinations of seniors in senior living communities. The records should also be accurate and up-to-date.

Draw up an immunization record for each senior and store them safely together with other vital documents. Alternatively, you can ask a vaccine provider, pharmacist, or doctor for a vaccine record form and use it to fill in the necessary details for each senior.

It would be best if you had the vaccine record form present during any hospital visits. Ask the vaccine provider to sign the form any time you receive a vaccine. They will sign against the type of vaccine the senior received.

Note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently started an initiative to store immunization records. Therefore, it would be best to ask the vaccine provider to update the seniors’ information on the CDC Immunization Information System (IIS). This way, the senior’s vaccination records will be readily available on the system.

Another advantage of the IIS is that it makes it easy for a vaccination provider to determine the appropriate vaccinations for the senior. It combines all vaccination records into a single record so that they can access them easily.

Covid -19 vaccinations for seniors

Most seniors live in senior living communities. More often than not, the seniors in these settings have underlying conditions since they belong to a specific age group. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that all seniors get COVID-19 vaccines. Seniors have two options: schedule a vaccination appointment and get the vaccine from a health facility or request an on-site vaccination. Note that they may experience a few side effects after getting the vaccine, but it will be beneficial in the long run.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require senior living communities to upload COVID-19 vaccination data for their residents. Therefore, you must keep track of COVID-19 vaccination data for all seniors in your community.

Conclusion

Vaccine records are vital. It would be best to keep track of all seniors’ vaccinations in your senior living community. By doing so and keeping your information up to date, you can ensure the seniors get the vaccines they require and dodge potential complications from flu, COVID, & more.

Can Blockchain Technology Be Used For Things Other Than Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is perhaps the most publicized use for blockchain technology. Perhaps this is why most people assume that cryptocurrency and blockchain are the same. In this article, we will show you that blockchain can be used for more than just finance and banking. This exciting, new technology has a wide array of applications that extend far beyond the implementation of digital currencies.

 

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and others, merely use the blocks on the blockchain as a means to transparently and securely record a ledger of payments. Blockchain can also be used as a secure way of keeping data about other types of transactions.

 

In theory, people across various industries can use blockchain to store different data points immutably. This could be in the form of votes in an election, financial transactions, titles to properties, product inventories, and much more.

 

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Blockchain can be useful in any application where data security is paramount.

This explains blockchain’s wide adoption in vast industries like healthcare, supply chain, cloud storage and so on. We'll expound on these and other applications of blockchain in this article. But first, let's look at the technology, as it relates to cryptocurrency.

 

Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

While people use cryptocurrency and blockchain interchangeably, these two aren't the same thing. Bitcoin was the first example of blockchain in action when it was introduced as an open-source code.  

 

Cryptocurrencies serve as an exchange medium. They are a disruptive fintech designed to make international transactions secure, faster, and easier, by putting control straight into the concerned parties' hands. These digital assets use cryptography and proof-of-work to create global currencies, secure transactions, control rate issues, all while removing aspects of government control.

 

The immutable, decentralized feature has fueled blockchain's adoption beyond its original use of supporting Bitcoin transactions. Here's how blockchain technology can be used for things other than cryptocurrency.

 

Blockchain Uses in Monitoring Supply Chain Data

 

The supply chain industry is challenged with enormous complexity, utilizing vast amounts of data. Information is often fragmented, inconsistently formatted, making it difficult to access or analyze. Blockchain technology seeks to address these and many other challenges.

 

Blockchain integration in the supply chain allows businesses to record a wide range of information effectively from date, price, location, certification, quality and other forms of critical data. This enables a more accurate and transparent end-to-end monitoring. It can also reduce disputes, as well as blockages of assets throughout the entire supply chain. By eliminating paper-based trails, companies can quickly identify inefficiencies and locate the assets in real-time.

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Blockchain integration in supply chain management will help save time and money.

 

Most companies agree that one of the biggest benefits of using blockchain technology for supply chain management is cost reduction. The ability to use real-time tracking in supply chain management proves to be one of the largest sources of cost-reduction.

 

Plus, there are other incredible benefits such as increasing automation through smart contracts, the provenance of tracking, scalability, and security.

 

Blockchain Uses In the Internet of Things (IoT) Systems

IoT is changing the way businesses run through the use of sensors and other edge infrastructure and devices. While a great thing, this poses a unique challenge for companies that have to protect data at all levels of the IoT environment. And with the ever-growing number of connected IoT devices, the need for data security has never been this complex. Blockchain technology is helping businesses resolve the security challenges in their IoT systems.

 

Blockchain combines with IoT to facilitate the machine-to-machine transaction. This blend also provides a range of potential benefits, like allowing smart devices to run autonomously without a centralized authority. It can also monitor how IoT devices send and receive information. The distributed ledger technology with IoT applies in automotive, agriculture, and banking sectors while, also, extending to smart homes, logistics and smart contracts. Blockchain application allows businesses to manage information on smart devices in an IoT system. This lowers costs linked to data transfer and IoT device maintenance.

 

 

Blockchain Uses in Smart Contracts

 

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Smart contracts are transactions that are secured by a distributed blockchain network.

A smart contract is a transaction protocol or computer program meant to automatically execute, document, or control legally relevant actions and events, as per the terms of an agreement or contract. It aims at reducing the need for external enforcement or a central entity as well as fraud losses.

 

Smart contracts use blockchain to capture, verify, approve and enforce agreements between parties. Blockchain-based smart contracts are irreversible, traceable, and transparent transactions. They are immutable, secure, and exist across a distributed blockchain network. Once recorded, it becomes impossible to change, delete or lose an agreement. The uses of smart contracts are vast, but they are common in property ownership and cross-border financial transactions. Other uses include: monitoring origin and the path of goods, banking and credit card services, among others.

 

Blockchain Uses in Cloud Storage

 

Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail are great examples of cloud storage. Many companies are using these and other premium cloud storage services to streamline their operations. Data in the cloud is easy to access, edit and share. It also cuts out the need for physical storage and security. 

 

Blockchain applied to cloud storage breaks down user data into small chunks and adds an extra layer of security before distributing it across the network. This is thanks to its features like transaction ledgers, private/public key encryption, and hashing function. Blockchain stores these chunks of data in a decentralized location. So, when hackers try to access the data, they’ll find encrypted data that’s only in parts. They will never be able to access the entire file.

 

Blockchain Technology in Healthcare

 

There are vast applications of blockchain in healthcare. Uses include protecting healthcare data, point-of-care genomics management, managing electronic medical record data, electronics, and personal health record data management.

 

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Protecting personal health information is one of the main ways blockchain tech can be used in the healthcare industry. It can also be used to track disease outbreaks and enable doctors to monitor patients, remotely.

Specific applications of blockchain in healthcare include:

· Research

 

· Collecting data

 

· Interoperable electronic health records

 

· Mobile health apps and remote monitoring

 

· Tracking outbreaks and diseases

 

· Safeguarding genomics

 

· Health insurance claims

 

· Tracing and securing medical supplies

 

· Data security

 

Blockchain Uses in Privacy and Security of Chats and Media

Media companies are now adopting blockchain to secure intellectual property rights of content, minimize costs and eliminate fraud. Blockchain in Media and Entertainment Market report 2021 by MarketWatch reveals that the sector will reach USD 1.54 billion by 2024. Messenger services are also not left behind. With billions of devices and users, there's an inherent danger of hacks, social engineering, and so on. Blockchain technology prevents identity theft, fraud, and data tampering while also protecting critical infrastructure.

 

What is Social Engineering? Can it Bypass Great Security

Social engineering scams revolve around the hacker’s use of manipulation and confidence. These techniques tend to make victims act in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t. Usually, victims act the way they do because of heightened emotions, a sense of urgency, and trust.  

Today’s cyber attackers are smart. They know that companies invest millions of dollars in corporate security features. They also know that every organization has the weakest link – human error. That’s why they keep devising clever ways to manipulate people to give up confidential information. Social engineering is one technique that hackers use to fool unsuspecting users into handing over sensitive information, like passwords, banking information and personal information.

What is social engineering?

It is a form of cyber-attack that exploits people through deception and trickery. It taps into human vulnerabilities like trust, emotions, or habits to gain access to networks, systems, and physical locations. Usually, the attackers intend to trick users into providing details like bank account details, social security numbers, or login credentials. But they may also want to access a computer and secretly install malicious software that gives them control over the computer.

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Attackers use social engineering techniques to hide their real identities and motives. They pose as trusted individuals or experts, but their only intention is to influence, manipulate, or trick users into giving up access or confidential data. A majority of social engineering attacks are based on the way people act and think. As such, these scams are particularly useful in exploiting a user’s actions. Once the hacker understands the reasons behind a target’s actions, he or she can effectively manipulate and deceive them.

How social engineering works

Social engineering attacks happen in one or more steps. First, the hackers run background checks to gather as much information about the target as possible. Then they’ll try to win over the target’s trust and persuade them to reveal confidential information. As opposed to violent methods, fraudsters use persuasion and confidence to prompt the victims into taking actions.

In a nutshell, social engineers:

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What social engineering attacks look like?

Social engineering attacks appear as an ordinary text message, email, phone call, or voice call from a seemingly safe source. Ultimately, it ends with the victim’s action, like exposing themselves to malware or sharing sensitive data.

Many people assume that they can tell scams right off the bat, but today’s attackers are much more advanced. They know how to disguise themselves. And, with a couple of details here and there, they can easily gain access to your organization’s various accounts and networks.

As Kevin Mitnick, a former hacker and social engineering expert, once said, “There isn’t a technology today that can’t be overcome through social engineering.” 

Attackers are using social engineering to attack even the most sophisticated systems. In 2016, for instance, the United States Department of Justice fell for social engineering bait that saw a leak of personal information of 9,000 DHS and 20,000 FBI employees. In the same year, the Democratic National Convention lost over 150,000 emails, thanks to a spear-phishing email that appeared to be a legitimate email from Google. Other famous attacks include Ubiquiti Networks BEC, in 2015, Yahoo hack in 2014, Sony Pictures Hack in 2014, and US Department of Labor Watering Hole in 2013.

Types of social engineering attacks

1.     Email from a trusted source (phishing emails)

Hackers use psychological manipulation to get victims to take different actions. For instance, they may send out an urgent message like this one:

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Most employees will jump into action when they receive such an urgent email from their “boss.” They will even prioritize it over anything else. What’s more, some will proceed with the instructions without asking any questions. Emails may also come from another trusted source – like a friend, industry expert, and so on.

Phishing scams deliberately take advantage of the trust that individuals have in legitimate email owners. Attackers use different phishing methods and platforms, including:

2.     Baiting

In baiting, an attacker leaves malware-infected device where a target can find it. Sometimes, they label it in an appealing way to make it even more luring. When a person picks and plugs it into their machine, they unknowingly infect their computer with malware.

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3.     Tailgating

Also known as piggybacking, tailgating is where a disguised attacker follows an authenticated staff into a restricted area. He or she then asks the employee to hold the door for them, thereby gaining access to the building.

4.     Pretexting

Pretexting involves hackers creating an excellent ploy to try and steal their target’s data. In pretexting, the fraudsters may say that they need some information from their victims to confirm their identity – but they use the information to stage secondary attacks or identity theft. In some cases, the attackers manipulate their victims into doing something that abuses the company’s physical and digital weaknesses.

Unlike in phishing where scammers capitalize on the victim’s urgency and fear, pretexting depends on creating a false sense of trust with the victim. Meaning, the hacker has to build a good story that victims believe.

Social engineering prevention

Security awareness training is the best way to prevent social engineering. Companies should sensitize their teams about social engineering as well as the tactics that attackers use. Employees should know well to delete any requests for passwords or secure financial data. They should also reject requests or offers of help. It’s equally important for companies to update their operating systems and also install firewalls, anti-virus software and email filters.

Is Blockchain Just for Cryptocurrencies?

Blockchain technology is an online database that offers information to organizations and enables them to record their transactions easily. The database is encrypted, so all communications are done between the organization and the peer-to-peer network only when it’s veritable.

The technology offers an excellent way to transfer data from point X to Y without worrying about false data being stored in the database because that would falsify the whole chain of millions of instances. Blockchain provides accountability since the transactions recorded pass through multiple-party verification and no transaction in the database can be changed by the parties later on.

What is blockchain technology?

As the name implies, blockchain is essentially blocks of encrypted data stored in a database (or ledger). Many would like to think of it as a robust spreadsheet. A single block of data links to a previous block, thus forming a chain. What makes blockchain unique is the fact that it’s a network of interconnected computers that don’t depend on a centralized entity to execute interactions.

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A central authority manages most databases that keep financial information. But with the blockchain database, the ledger is amended and updated communally by all the computers that are connected in the network. Since the records are held communally, no financial institution or computer is in charge. So, if a single computer in the system gets knocked offline or is hacked, the others can still function without it.

Advantages and disadvantages of blockchain

Pros

Cons

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

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In the context of cryptocurrencies, blockchain features a stable chain of blocks, each with a list of previously approved transactions. The blockchain network works as a decentralized ledger because its run by a network of computers spread worldwide. So, each participant (node) holds a copy of the blockchain data and communicates with the others to make sure they are all on the same page.

Blockchain transaction happens within a peer-to-peer network and is what makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies decentralized digital currencies that are borderless and censorship-resistant. The whole point of using this technology is to allow people – especially those who don’t trust each other – to share critical data in a secure and tamper-proof manner. This is because blockchain technology holds data using innovative software and sophisticated math functions that are extremely difficult for hackers to manipulate.

Is blockchain just for cryptocurrencies? 

One of the first real-world uses of blockchain technology was in Bitcoin, a virtual currency that was announced in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto (pseudonym). But these types of projects are not tied to the Bitcoin network alone. In fact, most blockchains have nothing to do with Bitcoin. Once Bitcoin blockchain had been around for a while – successfully recording all Bitcoin transactions and surviving vast attacks – many entrepreneurs and programmers wondered if the Bitcoin data security design might be applied to create other types of secure databases, unrelated to Bitcoin.

Today, startups, SMEs, and large scale companies across different types of fields are increasingly integrating blockchain into their daily operations. It is now widely used in banking and finance to facilitate payments, improve capital markets, trade finance, deter money laundering, and in insurance. It also has applications in business, especially in areas like healthcare, supply chain management, real estate, media, and energy. The government, too, can use the technology for record management, identity management, taxes, voting, regulatory/compliance oversight and a virtually infinite amount of other types of real-world applications.

Blockchain’s best features for corporations

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The growing applications and use cases of blockchain technology

Healthcare industry

One of the main challenges that healthcare professionals face is to share information across platforms securely. A seamless flow of data between providers could increase the chances of accurate diagnoses and effective treatment. It’ll also lower the cost of healthcare. Blockchain technology allows healthcare institutions and other related parties to share network access without affecting the integrity or security of data.

Critical infrastructure security

The internet infrastructure has proven vulnerable to attacks, particularly when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Since critical infrastructures like transportation and power plants have connected sensors, there’s a heightened risk to the civil society. Luckily, some companies are using the tamper-proof database to share critical information across their networks. Others are using blockchain to offer massive scale data authentication. A good example is using blockchain powered Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) to tag and verify data transactions.

Supply chain management 

The supply chain involves a series of transaction nodes that connect to move goods from one point to another. The technology allows businesses to document transactions in a decentralized record, thus limiting delays, human errors, and added costs. Different companies are coming up with blockchain-based products that enable enterprises to engage clients at the point-of-sale with data collected collaboratively from suppliers along the supply chain.

Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT)

Blockchain technology decentralizes cloud services, therefore increasing security, connectivity, and computational power. This solves the inefficiency problems – especially those surrounding data storage and computational resources – that are associated with launching IoT products.

Blockchain and cloud storage

Companies that provide cloud storage usually keep clients’ data in one secure server, which makes it vulnerable to attacks. Blockchain cloud storage services decentralize data storage, making it less prone to hacks that can lead to systemic damage and colossal data loss. Companies are now providing blockchain-enabled cloud storage to enhance security and also reduce the cost of storing data in the cloud.

Blockchain ensures the security of data. The information stored in blockchain is fully decentralized since it’s kept in multiple nodes across the globe rather than in a single place. This addresses the concern of data protection in case there’s an error or breach. Records that are uploaded in blockchain aren’t accessible to or controlled by an individual. But each party holding the data has a private key that they can use to access the encrypted files. So, even if a hacker gets to access a folder, he/she will only see a partial file –which won’t be useful. That’s why industries, other than cryptocurrencies, are taking advantage of blockchain to enhance their operations.

How are Cloud Computing & IoT Related?

Cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two very closely-related internet technologies that complement each other. The convergence of these two distinct technologies has derived numerous benefits, including better infrastructure, enhanced performance, and increased scalability.

Cloud computing and IoT have a complementary relationship and work best as inseparable cohorts. Cloud-based IoT allows for smart usage of information, applications, and infrastructure cost-effectively. But to understand the relationship between IoT and cloud computing, we’ll need to look at each technology separately.

What’s IoT

IoT is an ecosystem of connected devices that are accessible through the internet. With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020 – and more than 75 billion projected to be in use by 2025 globally – IoT is a top consideration for forward-thinking enterprises.

IoT features different components, including:

The devices are fitted with actuators and sensors that gather data from the environment and transfer it to the gateway for pre-processing. The gateway serves a security level for the network and transmitted data. Once the data is collected, it is sent to the cloud, which is often a set of serves linked to the internet 24/7. The information then undergoes processing and becomes available through different user interfaces.

IoT bases its model in smart devices which intercommunicate in a dynamic infrastructure and global network. It facilitates ubiquitous computing scenarios. The Internet of Things is characterized by widespread devices with limited storage and processing abilities. These devices are prone to issues regarding privacy, reliability, performance and security.

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What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is an on-demand delivery of computing power, applications, database storage, and IT resources. It allows companies to use computing resources, like a virtual machine, rather than deploying a computing infrastructure in-house.

Cloud computing is characterized by aspects like:

Cloud computing comprises an extensive network with unlimited computational power and storage abilities. It offers a flexible and robust environment that facilitates data integration from different data sources. Cloud computing has the potential to resolve almost all IoT issues.  

Cloud computing has four types of deployment models: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Community Cloud. Since businesses have varied needs, they may have to choose a cloud computing service that fits their preferences. Examples of these services include Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

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A closer look at the relationship between cloud computing and IoT

The Internet of Things (devices, machines, and sensors) produces extensive quantities of data per second. And as we discussed, cloud computing helps in the analysis and management of this data so that companies can reap the most benefit out of their IoT infrastructure. The goal of IoT is to connect and enable communication between people, processes, and things. Cloud computing facilitates this collaboration to create greater visibility.

The fundamental idea behind cloud computing and IoT is to optimize the daily tasks, without affecting the quality of data stored or exchanged. Since the relationship is symbiotic, the two complement each other successfully. The IoT becomes the source of information, while the cloud becomes the destination for the data to be stored.

Cloud computing, with its vast models and implementation platforms, allow enterprises to analyze and manage data, improving overall efficiency and working of the IoT system. It also allows data storage and transfer through the internet or with a direct link that facilitates uninterrupted data transfer between applications, devices, and cloud.

This explains why almost most companies (96%) use cloud computing in one way or another. And with the rise of cloud platforms like Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services, we can only expect to see a surge in the uptake of IoT solutions. Experts believe that we’ll see lots of growth in cloud services for devices in the coming years, much of it from Google, AWS, and Microsoft, along with purpose-built clouds that device makers may share or use exclusively.

A successful partnership between IoT and cloud computing

IoT is powered by the cloud, meaning that the collection of sensor-enabled devices depends on the strength of specific cloud computing techniques to thrive. This need makes IoT a critical element in the adoption and growth of cloud infrastructure, and vice versa. Companies need to employ a cloud strategy that enables them to support IoT development if they want to leverage the new applications that will be created and delivered through cloud-based platforms.

How cloud computing augments the growth IoT 

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Increases efficiencies

One of the main ways cloud computing complements IoT initiatives is by increasing efficiencies in daily tasks. IoT generates large amounts of data, and the cloud offers a pathway for this data to travel.

Data storage

Data storage in the cloud allows IoT enterprises to adapt quickly and distribute resources in different areas. And with the emergence of big data, the cloud is now an appealing option for many companies.

Providing infrastructure

Integration of IoT and cloud enables public cloud services to grant third-parties the power to access infrastructure. This, in turn, helps IoT data or computational modules running over different devices.

Augmented performance

Big data generated by extensive IoT devices need robust performance to interact and connect with other devices quickly. The integration of IoT and cloud can offer connectivity that’s vital to share data between devices and obtain quick meaning from it.

Enhanced scalability

IoT devices need plenty of storage to share data for critical reasons. Cloud services like IBM Watson, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, etc. are some of the IoT-based cloud systems that provide consumers with greater storage that can be increased or decreased accordingly.

Remote computing power

Thanks to this technology, enterprises can expand their infrastructure and network without deploying extensive hardware. And with faster networking technologies like the 5G, teams can now accelerate the creation of real-time applications and access remote cloud computing services with a few clicks.

Pay-as-you-go

Pay as you go (PAYG) is a cloud computing payment method that enables consumers to pay for the data they store. The PAYG model allows businesses to expand their usage according to need. They also won’t have to spend money to buy provision servers or other infrastructure, thus saving on cost.

Conclusion

IoT devices generate a massive amount of data, putting a strain on internet infrastructure. Cloud computing comes in to help store, process, and transfer data in the cloud rather than connected devices. IoT and cloud computing technologies are closely associated, and when combined, can deliver powerful innovation that will continue to change the way we interact with our devices, with each other as well as how we store, manage and consume information.

10 New Medical Technologies for 2020

The medical industry has grappled with inefficient processes, rising healthcare costs, poor quality of care, poor healthcare access and lack of patient-specific treatment for far too long. But the consistent advances in medical technologies have created huge shifts in the way solutions are rendered.

Today, physicians are able to diagnose and treat patients better. Patients, on the other hand, can access quality, affordable and timely care, sometimes, from the comfort of their own homes.

According to industry analysts, increased accessibility of care is one of the most tangible ways medical technology has changed healthcare. But still, areas like patient care, research, education, and disease control are also seeing massive transformation, thanks to technology.

Healthcare is ever-changing and we expect to see further evolutions in the coming years. But here are 10 new medical technologies for 2020.

1. 5G capability 

5G is a new medical technology trend that’s set to transform medicine and healthcare delivery. Although still in its infancy, 5G is set to transform the healthcare sector by boosting capacity and speed while reducing latency. 5G networks will facilitate telemedicine initiatives, support remote patient monitoring tools, transmit large medical images, and enable more sophisticated uses of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Additionally, it will allow for faster communication and downloads on smartphones and tablets used in healthcare settings. Ericsson predicts a $76 billion revenue opportunity in 2026 for those addressing healthcare changes with 5G networks.

2. 3D printing

3D printing is a way of converting virtual 3D models into real-time 3D objects. This medical technology is widely used in the manufacturing of medical devices like prosthetic limbs, orthopedic and dental implants, medicine educational models, and surgical instruments. Additionally, 3D bioprinting is used to develop personalized and precision pharmaceuticals as well as living human tissue or cells for use in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Patient-specific 3D printed models are becoming increasingly useful in today’s practice of customized treatments and precision medicine – which explains its uptake. The healthcare 3D printing market is estimated to surpass the $5.5billion mark by 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.5% within that time.

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3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI-powered medical technologies are quickly transforming into applicable solutions in the healthcare sector. Deep learning algorithms can handle the increasing amounts of data delivered by smartphones, implants, wearable devices, and other mobile tracking sensors in vast areas of medicine. At the moment, experts are using AI to detect epilepsy seizures, atrial fibrillation, hypoglycemia, as well as diagnose diseases based on medical imaging or histopathological tests. AI and machine learning will play an even bigger role in the coming years, helping healthcare experts with everything from note-taking to oncology screenings. In fact, it is projected to grow from $4.9 billion to 45.2 billion from 2020-2026 at a CAGR of 44.9%.

4. Surgical Robots

Surgical robots are computer-controlled, self-powered devices that can be programed to help in the manipulation and positioning of surgical instruments. Surgeons use robotic surgery because it offers greater visualization and precision. It gives them better flexibility, control, and accuracy. Unlike traditional surgery with incisions, robotic surgery allows for shorter hospitalization, minimal scarring, reduced pain and discomfort, and faster recovery times. In 2019, the surgical robot market was valued at $4.97 billion, but it’s projected to record a CAGR of 21.9% from 2020-2025 (forecast period).

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5. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in healthcare

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in the healthcare market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 30.2% over the period 2018-2023, according to a new Market Research Future report. These new medical technologies for 2020 offer feasible solutions to many challenges in the healthcare industry, including patient diagnosis, medical student training, surgery assistance, and body mapping. AR & VR are broadly used to improve surgical processes, treat neurological and psychiatric conditions, and also as part of hospice care.

6. Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

IoMT is a group of medical devices and applications connected to healthcare IT systems through online computer networks. The medical devices “things,” which are internet-enabled, allow machine-to-machine communication, that’s the basis of IoMT technology. In 2016, IoMT revenues amounted to $24 billion globally, with the number estimated to rise to over $135 billion by 2025. IoMT not only makes patient care personalized and cost-effective, it also decreases hospital admissions since medical professionals can monitor and even treat patients remotely. The rise of implantable and wearable devices in healthcare has made preventative care accessible to patients around the globe. Please check this website to learn more about IoT.

7. Cloud computing 

The cloud provides on-demand computing by leveraging cutting-edge technology to access, deploy, and use network data, resources, and applications. The broad adoption of cloud computing in the medical sector goes beyond storing data in the cloud. Healthcare professionals are now using this medical technology to optimize workflows, gain efficiencies, offer customized solutions, and lower the cost associated with service delivery. Driven by the increasing adoption of IoT and big data analytics, research shows that the industry is expected to reach $35.0 billion by 2022.

8. Telemedicine

Telemedicine involves the use of digital data and communication technologies like smartphones, wearables, and computers to access healthcare solutions remotely and manage health conditions. This medical technology is widely embraced for a range of reasons, including making health care accessible in remote areas and making services more convenient and readily available for those with limited time, mobility, or transport options. M-health also improves communication and coordination of care among doctors and patients and offers support for self-management of healthcare. According to the Market Research Future analysis, the global telemedicine market is estimated to reach $16.17 billion, with a 22.74% CAGR from 2017-2024.

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9. Chatbots

Chatbots have become prevalent in recent years, mostly because of dramatic technological advances in machine learning and natural language processing. Today’s bots are more responsive, smarter, and more useful, and the best is yet to come. Chatbots mimic spoken or written human speech to simulate interaction or conversation with a real person. These powerful tools can take care of client engagement, lead generation, dispatching information on drugs and medications, and even help with medical equipment. In the face of the Coronavirus, chatbots have been a natural choice for disseminating critical health information to vast populations.

10. Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics is a medical technology that uses past data to make future predictions, customizing patient care. An experienced medical expert can use a person’s demographic, recent medical history, and behaviors to predict the future. For instance, they can identify patients with an increased risk of developing a condition and address the precursors before it’s late. The predictive model also allows providers to react quickly to changes in the patient’s vital and detect deterioration at an early stage before the symptoms are apparent. The global predictive analytics market was worth $2.2 billion in 2018 and is estimated to reach $8.46 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 21.2%, according to Allied Market Research.

What is AI Up To in Healthcare & Research?

Major technology companies like Microsoft, IBM, and Google are investing in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for healthcare, research and beyond. There's also a steady rise in the number of medical AI startups firms joining in. This leaves us wondering, what is AI up to in healthcare and research, and why the growing interest in the area?

Artificial Intelligence techniques have sent huge waves across the healthcare industry, even driving conversations of whether AI robots will eventually replace human doctors in the future. Doctors essentially do three things: diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. All three core duties are being performed by AI systems that employ deep learning, machine learning, time series forecasting, and natural language processing.

AI systems are showing up and ready for prime time. They can now diagnose common pediatric illnesses, identify abnormal chest x-rays, and assess mental health. AI can also detect eye disease early on, perform surgery, carry out different front-office tasks, and analyze lymph node slides in pathology. And although AI in healthcare is still work in progress, a few things are clear:

But in as much as there are anxieties about AI replacing radiologists or robots taking jobs in pharma or surpassing the skills of surgeons, the truth is that AI isn't likely to fully replace the human aspect any time soon. Industry experts love to think of AI as an empowerment tool – one that offers perspective. Although AI can assist with diagnosis, treatment, and basic clinical trials, it's hard to imagine automated brain operation, for instance, where doctors have to adjust their plans once they open up the patient.

AI can help doctors collect and analyze data for their patients, in real-time. This can increase the accuracy of diagnoses and help reduce human errors made in regards to medical decisions.

What is Artificial Intelligence in healthcare?

AI in healthcare involves the use of complex algorithms and software to mimic the intelligent behavior of humans in the analysis, interpretation and comprehension of complex healthcare data. AI systems can execute tasks that need human intelligence to complete, like image analysis, speech pattern recognition and decision making. The algorithms are effective for automating repetitive tasks and they can outperform humans in tasks they are trained to perform.

What is AI up to in healthcare?

AI and diseases like asthma

Consider what Artificial Intelligence is doing in asthma treatment. Asthma affects 1 in 12 children. Doctors use conventional methods – like checking for wheezing – to diagnose asthma. They ask parents or caregivers to remember how often they administer drugs to their children. They ask about the triggers and whether the child is exposed to smokes at home. In some cases, the doctor analyzes the health data to determine the number of refills or emergency room visits (if any) that the child has had. But all this is just retrospective knowledge with no predictive analytics or proactive strategy.

Although clinical signs of asthma are easy to identify, the condition is much more complex at the cellular and molecular level. The enzymes, proteins, genes, and other asthma triggers are highly diverse. AI allows doctors to diagnose asthma before the patient suffers a few bouts of wheezing. It does so by comparing blood test results against the cellular and molecular markers. This time-saving intelligence frees the doctor's time, so they can focus on patient care during appointments.

AI and clinical care

AI technology is helping doctors and other medical providers make important healthcare decisions with a greater level of accuracy.

AI technology can help the diagnosis of diseases and is currently being used for this reason in hospitals around the globe. Using this technology to research publications and evaluate clinical data could guide doctors in making the right clinical decisions regarding treatment. Potential applications of Artificial Intelligence in clinical care are as follows:

Medical imaging: The technology has shown promising results in detecting eye conditions, pneumonia, and skin and breast cancers. According to a post on The Journal of Medical Health, AI can accelerate the diagnostic process and offer targeted effective treatment. It goes on to state that since radiologists depend on images they've seen before, or experiences they've had in their line of work, they might have a hard time interpreting something different that they've never seen or experienced in their practice.

Machine learning allows them to compare unfamiliar images against large global databanks to get insights on disease trajectory, diagnosis, and treatment options. Machine learning can offer more data by combining different data sources like genomic and longitudinal data along with individual electronic health records.

Robotic Surgery: Surgical adjuncts like image guidance and microscopes give surgeons a physical or mechanical advantage and allow for faster and accurate operations with fewer errors and improved outcomes. Surgical robots can control the depth, trajectory, and speed of movements with great precision. They are particularly effective for procedures that need the same, repetitive movements (like tying knots to close wounds) as they can remain completely still without getting tired.

Screening for neurological conditions: researchers have developed an AI system that can detect different acute neurological conditions in CT scans within seconds. Conditions like hemorrhage, stroke, and hydrocephalus can now be identified quickly with deep learning than through human diagnosis.

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Devices, connected with IoT technology can gather all necessary data about a patient. This data can be fed to an AI interface and analyzed in real-time to help healthcare providers make important decisions with greater insight.

Patient and consumer-facing applications

Patients and medical professionals are taking advantage of vast AI-powered technologies to manage health remotely. From Bluetooth-enabled scales to wearable heart monitors, these medical devices take the patients' health measurements and send these data to doctors to facilitate real-time healthcare decisions. Remote patient tracking technologies automatically monitor and report on patients, often with chronic illnesses so doctors can keep tabs on them - even though virtually. This is made possible in conjunction with Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Artificial intelligence and medical research

By integrating machine learning to clinical workflows, researchers can perform tasks with greater speed and more accuracy, allowing front-line medical professionals to deliver more effective treatments to patients.

Additionally, AI gives researchers the ability to identify complex associations within datasets faster and more precisely than has been previously possible. In a Stanford study, AI offered a dermatologist-level classification of skin cancer with deep neural networks.

According to this post, the ICGC is profiling up to 20,000 cancer patients at the moment. The organization will combine real-time cancer information on the 350,000 new cases annually England, together with comprehensive clinical data and more than 11 million historical cancer records. With the help of AI, ICGC will be able to provide the international community with comprehensive genomic data for many cancer types.

Again, researchers at the University of Manchester and Cambridge developed AI-powered robots called "Eve" to help optimize the highly involving and expensive drug discovery process. In 2018, the robot scientist, Eve, discovered that a compound commonly found on toothpaste and soap could be effective in treating drug-resistant malaria.

Conclusion 

The effects of AI in healthcare has caught the attention of public and private sectors alike, driving more investment in its development. In Silicon Valley, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and IBM continue to make a significant investment in AI, while more health-focused AI startups continue to join in.

Statistics project that the global AI in healthcare market size will grow at a CAGR of 41.5% from 2019-2025. The survey further revealed that the growing value of big data in healthcare, increasing the need for affordable healthcare, rising adoption of precision medicine, and declining hardware and supply chain costs were some factors fueling AI growth.

What is the Future of IoT Supply Chains?

A lot has been written about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its impacts on almost all major industries, including transportation, retail, healthcare, finance, and accounting. But one of the most exciting areas of influence is the global supply chain. The Internet of Things shows its fullest potential in processes like supply chains.

Supply chain analysis requires an understanding that the production of any product is inherently dependent on a series of connections and links. When one, or more of the links are weak – whether due to outdated machinery, transport delays, or human errors – businesses end up with poorly functioning supply chains that are costly, with little returns.

The Internet of Things, through its network sensors, offers the much-needed connection in the supply chain – the link between the physical world and that of data. IoT allows companies to transmit critical data across different channels and break them down using powerful analytics engines to optimize any given supply chain component, that helps drive better decisions.

IoT Solutions in Supply Chain Management

Organization and efficiency are two main factors that tend to determine failure or success. If an enterprise can’t locate goods within its system quickly, create delivery schedules efficiently, monitor inventory effectively, or maintain equipment properly, it’s likely to suffer. But the good thing is that organization and efficiency are two areas where IoT excels.

IoT is a collection of interconnected devices that can track, report on, send, and exchange data. These devices (smart devices, chips, mobile sensors, and RFIDs) are linked to computer systems through Wi-Fi or data networks and use sensors to measure different environmental factors, including temperature, location, light levels, handling, movement, humidity, and speed movement. They also automate processes, minimizing human errors.

IoT systems allow businesses to:

IoT-enabled devices are increasingly being implemented to improve the visibility of logistic operations. For example, sensors can be installed in fleets for to offer real-time monitoring updates of transportation and delivery. They also are ideal for asset tracking and fleet management. With this technology in retail outlets and warehouses, there will be more visibility in production, inventory management, and predictive maintenance.

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When connected to the global supply chain, IoT technology can help companies to track and monitor systems in real-time, allowing them to identify and solve problems before they escalate. Such real-time data can also be helpful for businesses to proactively service client demands, reduce downtime, and increase the supply chain’s overall efficiency. And thanks to improved efficiency and visibility across the supply chain, IoT technology enables companies to optimize their assets and ROI.

The Future of IoT Supply Chains

The concept of taking all of the “things” worldwide and linking them to the internet and each other (by extension) is a technological field that’s bursting with promise. The dawning of the age of the IoT is already influencing how supply chain management is happening. Things like organization, efficiency, and relevance are enhancing operations and service quality, with almost unlimited future potential. Here’s what’s in the future of IoT supply chains:

More Companies Will Join In

From the look of things, IoT is coming of age. Studies reveal that the number of enterprises using IoT applications rose from 13% to 25% from 2014 to 2019. The IDC predicts 13.6% yearly growth through 2022. In another survey, 75% of large manufacturers wanted to update their operations using IoT and analytics-based situational awareness by the end of 2019.

There Will Be More IoT Devices

Gartner predicted that there would be a 30-fold increase in internet-connected physical devices by the end of 2020. The same report indicated that IoT would reach 26 billion installed units by the same year and influence the data available to supply chain leaders and how the supply chain works, based on the industry.   

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Continue to Grow

AI promises a smart new world of computers that can strategize, plan, calculate probabilities, evaluate options, and make the best decisions. Of course, IoT is the body that gives Artificial intelligence’s brain the ability to act. It also offers the information that AI requires to make smart choices. AI will serve a critical role in monitoring, analyzing IoT data, and sieving it into actionable themes. Machine learning, a type of AI that helps IoT devices to learn without someone having to program them, will then allow systems to adjust according to the company’s preferences.

IoT Will Address Vast Concerns

From what we see today, there are numerous reasons why more and more businesses are incorporating IoT into their operations. From the COVID-19 pandemic and political unrest to environmental concerns like weather conditions, fuel costs, etc. All these affect the way the shipping of goods is done globally. Not to mention today’s consumer, who is very specific about how, where, and when they get products. From consumer electronics, to their healthcare, people will turn to IoT and other technologies to navigate different situations.

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IoT supply chain management will completely revolutionize the way industries get their products and services into the marketplace.

5G Networks Will Continue to Drive IoT Growth

5G network was rolled out in 2019, but the coming years will see many companies switch to this incredibly fast network. 5G promises more ability to connect more smart devices at one go. Greater speeds mean the information gathered by the IoT will be analyzed and managed to a higher degree. It will also drive innovation in companies that create IoT devices (like sensors, identity chips, and computing devices) and boost efficiency and organization. Thanks to 5G, billions more IoT devices can be plugged into the global network, according to Ericsson.

There Will be Supply Chain Digitization 

Efforts to connect all systems as well as implement new digital technologies will still be a priority in the future. Digitization in the supply chain creates transparency, eliminates silos, and enhances responsiveness. PwC foresees a digital environment that removes manual processes and offers a single view of the company and all its supply chain operations.

There Will be Plenty of Big Data 

The growth in IoT, along with the digitization of the supply chain, will yield plenty of big data. IoT will prove valuable for supply chain and logistic managers who want to understand consumer behavior and usage patterns, enhance their inventory management and streamline eCommerce.

IoT Will Become Virtually Invisible

IoT solution will become invisible in the future. The real value of IoT lies in the automation and insights that are enabled when one has access to real-time data on all critical aspects of the business. Manual observation will become uncommon because all alerts will be sent to devices. The future of IoT is billions of cheap, small, low-powered devices that offer instant insights into every system, process, and asset that’s critical to supply chain companies. It is ubiquitous, invisible, and primarily driven by notifications.