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We live in an increasingly connected world. It's estimated that there will be about 260 million internet-connected devices in the U.S. by 2020, and the next wave of these devices will push our data demand even further. New Bluetooth advancements, for instance, enable devices to perform within a range that's four times greater, twice the speed, and eight times the bandwidth of traditional Bluetooth devices.

Besides this, connected and automated devices in the home are already ubiquitous given the popularity of smart home installations: Vacuums, thermostats, lights, and pretty much anything else with a plug can now be controlled using phone apps and voice commands. But this increasing connection isn't limited to the home; the workplace is automating as well. A majority of businesses are exploring automation for its potential to drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation, and this will only increase as the Internet of Things continues to expand.

Advancements like these will lead to a world that's connected everywhere you go — meaning society's data demand is growing. What's more, streaming subscriptions have already surpassed cable. Many streaming services are already available on mobile devices as well, which increases connectivity and data demand even further.

As a society, our demand for data is increasing at a rapid pace — but the internet in the U.S. isn't poised to keep up with demand. 

As it stands now, the U.S. ranks 10th in the world for its fixed broadband speeds, falling behind the fastest global speed by more than 64 megabits per second. High connectivity and automation rely on rapid and consistent data transfers, but the U.S. internet in its current state isn't likely to support this.

One Problem: Not Enough Competition Among Internet Service Providers

U.S. internet speeds pale so much in comparison to other countries' in part because the internet is currently offered in highly oligopolized or monopolized markets. Most online traffic travels through coaxial cables maintained by regional ISPs with few competitors. Some traffic still travels through even slower copper phone lines of the DSL days.

Only so much data can be crammed through coaxial cables and copper wires, and ISPs know that. The problem is that our data-processing infrastructure hasn't improved alongside our technologies. But given the lack of competitive pressure, companies have no incentive to make improvements — and so they rarely do.

In a more open market, heightened competition might push ISPs to offer the latest innovations in data transmissions (fiber-optic networks, for example) to maintain a healthy market share.

This would push companies to upgrade and innovate, and it's likely that new technologies would emerge at a faster rate than they would in closed markets. A natural solution to this problem might seem to be opening the market to more providers and putting more competitors in the space in order to motivate ISPs to innovate. But this solution comes with challenges of its own.

Competitors struggle to enter the space at all, largely because of a lengthy and costly right-of-way approval process that creates barriers to entry.

ISPs have to work with local governments to gain access to public rights of way that allow them to place broadband wires. Placing these wires is expensive because ISPs must pay exorbitant fees to rent space for them — whether the wires are on utility poles or in underground conduits. These fees alone can double the cost of network construction. This, along with antiquated laws that aided in creating regional monopolies, means that competition is pushed out and that only a few big players remain. To change that, local governments would need to change their approval processes and allow easier entry into the market for new ISPs.

As an alternative, ISPs and governments could form public-private partnerships to create a new entry into the market. Essentially, a publicly funded, privately run organization would enter the ISP arena to boost competition — and therefore, innovation — while driving down prices. The private sector can bring new opportunities to cities that don't have the resources to develop solutions on their own.

Should the Internet Become a Public Utility?

Another option on the table for advancing the internet enough to take on the next wave of automation is classifying internet service as a public utility. Utilities can be strictly regulated for quality and cost controls because these services are considered too important to leave entirely up to market forces.

Consider what internet service would look like if it were a public utility similar to electricity or gas.

ISPs would still be private companies, but governments could mandate specific internet speeds to reach and put a ceiling on costs. The idea is that the private sector is likely better at service delivery, but the existence of strict government controls would prevent ISPs from exploiting their near-monopoly status.

Additionally, because internet access is now widely considered necessary for people functioning in the modern world, it would make sense for the government to set up a baseline of internet service for low-income or underserved communities. This could push ISPs to offer better service because people would default to the public service if they saw no greater benefit from using other ISPs instead.

Ditching Land-Based Infrastructure

Another option is eschewing land-based internet infrastructure altogether and moving to space instead. In fact, Elon Musk's SpaceX is already constructing a constellation of satellites — Starlink — to provide space-based internet access. SpaceX has launched 60 satellites into space so far, and its internet service is already available in several places on the planet (this includes Musk's home, where he was able to send a tweet through space). The U.S. Air Force is also testing this technology.

This option is still in the early stages, but SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said Starlink's broadband service could be available in the U.S. as early as the middle of next year. If all goes well with its current testing and future launches, Starlink could offer high-speed internet access to consumers and avoid countless infrastructure challenges in the process.

IoT is expanding, and the world is becoming more connected at home, at work, and on the go than ever before. With the growth of modern technology and connectivity, it makes sense that the internet should evolve alongside it. If its growth stays stagnant, however, we won't see new tech advancements reach their full potential. It's time to reevaluate the U.S. internet service infrastructure before innovation is truly stifled.

The post The Automation Boom is Coming. Will the Internet Be Ready? appeared first on ReadWrite.

teen entrepreneurs

Starting a business is not an easy decision to make. Building a company requires work and money as well, and time. The resources of time, work, and money mean you will have to make sacrifices to start your business. It takes someone who has a lot of passion and confidence to establish a startup. These young people have proved that anyone can create a business at any age. However, some fantastic young entrepreneurs had the fortitude and strength in them to build their businesses in their teenage years. Here are five teen AI entrepreneurs that will amaze you.

1. Sofi Overton

It is disappointing that when you are wearing leggings or socks, there are no pockets. When you are wearing leggings, you need a place you can put your phone and keys because you don’t have a pants pocket. Sofi Overton was able to solve that problem when she established Wise Pocket when she was 13 years old. Sofi products were making leggings and socks with pockets in them.

Sofi wanted to establish this business when she was out and about one day with her cousin. Sofi noticed the problem with not having pockets while wearing her leggings. Her cousin ended up putting her phone inside of her boot — a lousy place for a phone. Once Sofi identified a need, she immediately set about working to establish Wise Pocket.

2. Richard Black

There are plenty of people who are hearing as well as vision-impaired. These individuals face many challenges because of their disabilities. More than anything, all people need, want, and deserve the chance to be independent. Richard Black, 17 years of age, made this possible.

By utilizing the latest AI technology, Richard established Halfcode that sells gadgets for people with vision and hearing impairments become independent and navigate the world much easier.

3. Asia Newson

Asia Newson loved candles when she was very young. And she had ideas on how to create unique and fun homemade candles, and that is how she became passionate enough to establish her own handmade candle business, Super Business Girl, at the age of 14.

People all over the world were inspired by Asia, and she was featured on America’s Got Talent as well as on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Asia also was a keynote speaker for TEDxDetroit. Asia’s parents have begun to work in the business as well. They have become the director of sales, and one parent has taken the role of president.

4. Miracle Olatunji

During her mid-teens, while she was in high school, Miracle Olatunji wanted to help her high school peers get connected to opportunities that would help them find interest in a career. That is why she established OpportuniMe, which is a platform to help high school students find opportunities to help them get into the jobs they want or to help them know that there are well-suited careers for them.

The idea of this platform is also to help high school students find their desires and passions for what they want to do in life before they go to college. Not only is Miracle at the age of 19 still involved, but she is now the director of innovation at Thrive and wrote the book, Purpose: How to Live and Lead with Impact.

5. Maddie Rae

Maddie Rae found slime to be funny and had a passion for doing something with it.  Maddie felt that to make slime, useful — she would have to turn the slime into glue. At age 12, Maddie was able to established Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue. Her company takes slime and glue mixed together — the results have been a substantial hit among all age groups. She was able to expand her online store, quickly becoming successful.

Maddie Rae’s Slime Glue Company sells slime glue, slime, as well as many progressive accessories having to do with everything slime.

After reading about these amazing teenagers that had the passion and dedication to start their own businesses, you can do something about your own passion and turn it into something amazing.

The post These Teen AI Entrepreneurs Will Amaze You appeared first on ReadWrite.

drone at wedding

The popularity of wedding drone photography is constantly rising. It’s not surprising because these flying machines can take really amazing photos and videos. But many people still aren't sure about the necessity of aerial photography at weddings or different events. We’ve gathered for you the most important information you need to know about drones if you want to use them for a wedding.

When using drones, safety comes first.

It may not be the information you wanted to read first. But safety is a necessary measure and you should always keep it in mind if you have decided to get some pictures from a drone. The drone itself is a little helicopter that has a camera. When the drone operator has no required skills, the risk to have some unpleasant accidents rises.

Professionalism and planning are necessary.

The drone pilot should have insurance, extended knowledge on how to operate the vehicle, an established safety plan, and excellent coordination with facility managers, wedding photographers, and the couple. Otherwise, the whole wedding party may be in danger. It is also important to be sure that your photographer and videographer cooperates with the drone pilot. You need to discuss all the plans and details with them because everyone should be aware of the other professional's actions.

Check all the needed paperwork.

Personal property and liability insurance for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles are required for every drone pilot. In case something goes wrong, the damaged object will be restored and the operator can feel safe. This aspect shouldn't be neglected. You need to be sure that your drone operator has taken all possible safety precautions.

Drones show a whole new perspective.

It is quite easy to find a professional drone pilot in order to shoot your wedding. But professional pictures made from the drone are quite different from the usual photos. You’ll want to be sure that all photos will be amazing because your wedding is a very special day. Drones provide an entirely new style of capturing your wedding. They bring you a unique opportunity to memorize that will never be forgotten in a completely fascinated way.

Take advantage of your location.

The drone camera can capture dynamic photos and videos that demonstrate the scale and style of your event. Drones offer unusual and great prospects for stunning places where people choose to get married. If you decided to tie the knot on an exotic beach, in a flower valley or in another amazing place, imagine that you are viewing your wedding album on your 25th anniversary and get a stunning aerial shot of your wedding venue. This is a wonderful way to take complete advantage of the magnificent location that you have chosen.

You can make your dreams real.

Drones can be very versatile and can add some creativity to plain wedding photos. A good idea is to gather all your guests to spell out words or you may organize a group photo in another way. You can also get a magnificent photo of a just the married couple surrounded by a sprawling cityscape or landscape. The contrast between the closeness of this moment and the epic splendor of the perspective makes these shots very impressive.

A drone can operate in the cold.

Drones are quite sturdy, but you should remember that they are still electronic devices. That means that you shouldn't use them in nasty humid weather. But cold weather will not stop them. As soon as the drone starts to discharge, it will produce its own warmth.

Cold air is denser, so the drone can get even more lift. You can get some extra minutes of flight in winter but it is a controversial advantage. If your marriage takes place in a cold climate, you still will not be able to take many pictures of your guests on the street.

Drones need a lot of space.

It is better to use drones outside, but sometimes it is possible to fly them inside if the drone pilot has good skills. It is also important that the ceiling is high enough to guarantee that the drone and people are not in danger. But even if you have a lot of space, it is still better not to use a drone in a ceremony indoors because it is quite noisy. Open space remains a better option for drones.

When you decided to have an outdoor wedding, we recommend you to think about drone photography. This will be especially appropriate for family property. You will be able to look from above at the place where you spent your childhood. Or if you have a wedding on a ship, a drone is the one and only who is able to take pictures of your party.

Close-ups are not available with your drone.

Drones should never get in the way, so it is better to avoid close-ups. It would be not only very dangerous but also unpleasant, distractive and loud. Drones don't record sound, so you will not be able to take your wedding vows on video. But they can capture the whole view. You can film a walk, the moment when the couple meets the officiant near the church and many other fascinating details. So you’ll get the whole picture of the wedding without spoiling the most intimate moments.

Take a review of Instagram marketing so that you can provide your wedding couple with ideas to share their special day on this social media.

The post What You Need to Know to Use Drones for Your Wedding appeared first on ReadWrite.

trade secrets
Elana Medo has dedicated many decades of her life to making mother's milk available to premature babies. Now a questionable trade secret lawsuit threatens to destroy her life's work and leave preterm infants without access to life-saving milk.

The cost of a Corporation Stealing from an Individual has been the loss of human lives — the very lives the individual is trying to save.

The Medo case highlights a growing problem in America: Corporate efforts to suppress competition by claiming they are protecting their “supposed” trade secrets have reached alarming heights.
Medo has been working with newborns and human milk since the mid-1980s. In 1999, Medo founded a company called Prolacta. Prolacta was the first company to develop a 100% human milk-based fortifier.
Per physician’s recommendation, a fortifier is added to a mother's breast milk to increase the nutrition content. When Medo founded Prolacta, hospitals were using fortifiers made from cow's milk. But many infants are allergic to cow's milk, leaving hospitals and parents with dangerous and even fatal consequences.

For instance, preterm babies given fortifiers made from cow's milk have a much higher risk of developing a fatal condition called necrotizing enterocolitis.

The cruel disease attacks a baby's intestine, eating away at this organ with devasting results.
According to Amy Gates, a neonatal dietitian and board-certified pediatric nutrition specialist, “Human breast milk is a
"critical" and "life-saving intervention for premature infants." Prolacta was a game-changer. By 2006, Medo had raised $23 million in venture capital. But Medo and her corporate backers had different visions for the company's future.

Medo wanted to save babies' lives. Her investors only wanted to make money. As a businesswoman, Medo knew they could do both. The corporation wanted more money — faster.

In 2007, venture capitalists took control of Prolacata's board of directors and ousted Medo as CEO. In 2008, Medo resigned from her employment and transitioned to a new role as an independent consultant to the company. In February 2009, she formally ended any relationship with Prolacta.

Since 1999, Prolacta has had a monopoly or near-monopoly in the market of human milk fortifier.

The company's prices and profits reflect a lack of any meaningful competition. At $175 an ounce or more, the cost to feed a single preterm infant Prolacta fortifier can easily top $15,000 a day.
Many hospitals cannot afford Prolacta, while others strictly ration the supply, limiting its use only to the smallest, sickest babies. The stingy insurance-rationing then puts other preterm babies at significant risk.

In 2009, after separating from Prolacta, Medo launched Medolac, a public benefit corporation.

Medo does not mince words about her motivations. "Hundreds of babies die each year from not having the ability to receive human milk. Profit must be secondary to the social impact of a company's decisions."
Between 2009 and 2015, Medo developed a new model for donor milk. Prolacta's fortifiers are frozen and have a shelf life of two years frozen and 48 hours thawed. Medolac's milk product is shelf-stable at room temperature for three years. That distinction alone can give Medolac a competitive advantage in the market through dramatically reduced shipping and storage costs.

The development of shelf-stable mother’s milk would also allow Medolac to pass along much of those savings to consumers and help stabilize more sick babies, and ultimately saves lives.

When Prolacta learned of Medolac's competitive threat, they filed suit against Medo and her daughter Adrianne Weir in Orange County, California. Prolacta alleged that they had built Medolac using stolen trade secrets.

The Medo-case has been in litigation for the past five years. As with all corporate suits, they use the tactic of prolonged litigation to break down the efforts of smaller companies and individuals.

Prolacta's central allegations are that Medo stole their customer data, research and development documents, and used Prolacta’s standard operating procedures. Medo denies stealing anything and contends that the information at issue is public or commonly known within the industry. Medo, herself, built Prolacta as a company and was taken over by her own board. She had the initial product, information, and know-how. It could be alleged that Prolacta stole her information in the first place.

What do the lawyers say? It depends on which side you are on. A lawyer makes more money with a corporation than they do with an individual. But, founders need to protect themselves right in the beginning.

Jonathan Pollard, a competition lawyer with extensive experience litigating trade secret cases, says this is part of America's current "epidemic of frivolous trade secret litigation." According to Pollard, "The new corporate America playbook involves squashing ordinary competition at any cost.
If a rival poses a competitive threat to your market share, you sue them for theft of trade secrets — no matter how weak the case." Pollard explains that big companies with deep pockets use litigation as a weapon. Protracted litigation can cost millions.

Beyond the financial cost, there is also the intrusive discovery process through which the parties in a case obtain information and evidence form the other side. And corporations have more money to throw at the issue.

As is the case in many suits, in the Medo case — her company has been sued for theft of trade secrets. In an ironic twist, this ended up making her the victim of trade secret theft. As is often the case, the plaintiff used the discovery process to obtain exclusive intelligence on its rival. Pollard calls this the "chilling effect" in the market.
Clients, lenders, and other market actors are hesitant to do business with
someone who is being sued for theft of trade secrets.
Many of Pollard's concerns seem to be playing out in the Prolacta litigation. After five years, four amended complaints, more than twenty depositions, many thousands of documents, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, Medo and her company are fighting just to survive. Corporate America stealing an edge over a founder of a small company — for gain.

Medolac has developed a 48,000 square foot processing facility that claims it can provide for 100% of the domestic market— at a fraction of Prolacta's cost.

The dream for these desperately sick infants can only happen if Medolac can ever make it through the current litigation.

As for the merits of the case, Pollard is not impressed by Prolacta's allegations against Medo.
"Take customer information. This is one of the most commonly asserted trade secrets. But in the year 2020, it's also one of the most absurd. In this case, it seems obvious that any hospital in the United States serving newborn babies is a potential customer. All you have to do is call the neonatal
Courts have to catch up with reality and recognize that the emergence of resources like Google has fundamentally changed the landscape of competition. Just because something was a trade secret in 1995 doesn't mean it's a trade secret today."
For now, all that Elana Medo and her daughter can do is plead their case to a jury. The case goes to trial this month.

The post Trade Secrets Claimed by Prolacta to Steal Founders’ Company – Again appeared first on ReadWrite.

paperless operations

Paper is an essential commodity for office operations. Most conventional offices rely on paper for completing the simplest tasks. Even after digitization, the dream of a completely paperless office is far from reality. Humans are used to a standard form of note-taking and documentation. Here is how to achieve paperless operations and document automation with AI and ML.

Progressive technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning help enterprises achieve their goal of paperless offices. Using these technologies, the issues associated with managing large volumes of data documented on paper can be efficiently solved.

Concept of Paperless Enterprises

Paperless enterprises run on digital devices with minimum paper consumption. In a digitally connected world, this gives businesses an unprecedented edge. All data is stored digitally, on the cloud or on-premise, which can be used in real-time to derive valuable insights about operational efficiency, marketing campaigns, employee engagement and a lot more.

Machine Learning (ML) is making it possible to achieve next-gen digital transformation by automating several business operations, that requires filling up loads of paper documents. Already, businesses are making an effort to integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence to go digital and achieve higher efficiency.

Growing Penetration of Machine Learning in Modern Enterprises

paperless operations
Growing Penetration of Machine Learning in Modern Enterprises


Benefits of Paperless Operations

Automation can offer several benefits to modern enterprises. Not only the tedious task of filing and storing a large number of documents can be minimized, but organizations can improve their data discovery and utilization capabilities. Here are some of the benefits of adopting paperless processes:

  • Efficient Document Organization

Digitization through artificial intelligence and machine learning allows companies to organize all information in easily accessible formats. This saves time as employees don't have to waste hours searching for a document. Also, this promotes remote working culture and bring next-level authentication as the origin of digital information can be identified.

  • Enhanced Security 

One of the biggest drawbacks of paper-based data storage is associated with the security and safety of data. Conventionally, office cultures were not serious about data protection and stored critical information either in filing cabinets or any similar method.

All these methods are prone to data theft or damage due to unavoidable circumstances. Paperless office enhances the security measures as companies can take a backup of data, secure data through passwords and take steps to enforce security measures.

  • Reduced Overheads

Storing data using paper-based techniques is a cumbersome and costly affair. Companies can save millions of dollars annually by eliminating the need for paper, copier equipment, and maintenance. Also, companies don't have to waste valuable real estate for storage of files and other documents.

Paperless digitization promotes easy accessibility from anywhere, which means less money is spent on the physical transmission of data using conventional methods.

  • Real-time Insights

Digitally stored data serves as a massive data pool to derive real-time insights from available data. This means that the information available to an enterprise can be put to better use for boosting efficiency. Marketing managers can utilize real-time data gathered from various campaigns; production teams can understand customer preferences.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence can enhance data analysis capabilities and make organizational processes closer to the customer's needs and preferences.

Industry Use Cases: Who will Benefit the Most?

1. Legal firms

AI/ML-based paperless workflows will significantly improve the productivity of law firms. Traditionally, the legal profession is seen as a labor-intensive task- browsing through thousands of legal case files, reviewing past case studies, examining legal contracts and more.

AI can reduce manual intervention for data analysis and processing, leaving more time with advocates, lawyers and legal firms to advise their clients and appeal in courts. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be leveraged to keep a record of legal contracts and provide real-time alerts on renewals, proofreading legal documents and locate valuable information in seconds. For the legal system, artificial intelligence is the key to paper-free litigation and trials in the future.

2. Automobile industries

The automobile industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the AI/ML innovation. Machine learning has allowed automobile factories to create autonomous systems for managing large volumes of data generated during the manufacturing process.

Moreover, AI is reducing the effort required for filing claims in case of shop-floor accidents as data is digitized and form filing can be automated. Also, ML algorithms allow customers to get real-time diagnostic support without needing to file paper-based forms as a vehicle can be directly connected to the manufacturer via cloud infrastructure. This means that repairs, service and general performance issues can be reported in real-time without the need for paper.

3. Insurance

The insurance sector can use machine learning to automate claims will prove delightful for customer service processes. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be leveraged to create sophisticated rating systems for evaluating risks and predicting an efficient pricing structure for each policy. All this can be automated, which reduces the need for manual intervention from human agents for classifying risks.

Also, artificial intelligence can streamline workflow by managing a large volume of claims data, policy benefits, medical/personal records, digitally. The data stored on the cloud can be used by an AI algorithm to derive real-time insights about policyholders and bring efficiency to the fraud detection process.

Wrapping Up

Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize workspaces like never before. With the help of an AI development company, small, medium and large-scale enterprises can make a substantial move towards a paperless future. Not only will it reduce the cost of operations but it will boost the overall efficiency of the existing business processes. The industry use cases suggested above is just the tip of a massive iceberg.

The possibilities are limitless. An AI-driven product development company can understand your existing business processes and suggest custom solutions that can be a suitable fit for your business operations.

The post Achieving Paperless Operations and Document Automation with AI and ML appeared first on ReadWrite.