Category Archives: Guest Post

IoT In Healthcare: Why We’re Excited, What Could Go Wrong, And How to Fix It

Internet of Things is everywhere – and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. If you don’t believe us, you might have to consider the body of research that estimates that we would have some 20 billion connected devices by the year 2020.

That’s billion with a ‘b.’ It is, thus, not interesting that this piece of technology has found its way into healthcare too – and we love how it is being used here.

Applications of IoT in Healthcare
With the advancement in connected devices, technology has come diverse applications for the healthcare industry too. Some of the use cases that we have found most useful are:

1. Sharing of patient data
Connected devices have been incorporated in such a way that they collect data about the patient in real-time and send them back over an internet connection to the physician in charge. This makes it possible for the physician to have access to data that they would not have otherwise been able to get on a single visit.

What that means is that such a physician now has actionable information at all times – helping to deliver a more streamlined and personalized form of healthcare to the patient. Likewise, the physician is able to keep an eye on their patients even when they are not in the hospital.

2. Administration of medicine
Connected units have been proven to offer remote assistance to doctors and patients, and in more ways than one. Instead of having a patient come in every time for, say, insulin injections, the physician can program a pump to do so automatically.

Likewise, it is important to check the sugar level of the patient so as to determine which is the best amount of insulin to administer. Fortunately, these connected devices can get that done too – and we are not forgetting the fact that they can be reprogrammed over the internet.

3. Cost savings
For both the healthcare industry and patients, connected devices bring massive cost savings onboard. On the one side, they ensure patients don’t have to come into the hospital every time when they could just have their information sent over the air. This greatly reduces the time and resources that the healthcare industry would have had to dedicate to such a patient.

On the other hand, attending to patients’ needs becomes better streamlined since doctors now have a better idea of what could be going on. That is made possible by all the information they have had at their disposal – cutting back on expenses for treatments that might not be tailored to the patient’s needs.

4. Alerts

Perhaps the biggest plus for patients is the alerts they stand to get from using IoT in their everyday lives. It is no news that a lot goes on in our bodies as we go about our everyday activities – and we don’t even know about half of them. However, these devices have been created to monitor certain data and vitals – so they will let you in on what’s happening before it becomes a problem at all.

This can be exemplified in one of the cases where an Apple watch saved someone’s life.
In this particular instance, the watch was responsible for telling the wearer that they had an irregular heartbeat, even though they felt they were okay. Unknown to them, three of their arteries were already blocked, and the fourth was functioning at way less than half of its capacity.

5. Remote Assistance
Above all others, connected devices make it possible for doctors to offer better remote assistance to patients. Emergency situations can be better solved now that doctors can be reached with smart mobile apps, no matter how many miles away they are.
Likewise, the doctors can use data available to them from the connected devices to make the diagnosis on the go, further helping the patient better than before.
In short, the possibilities of remote assistance are endless.

Considering the challenges of IoT in healthcare
For all the promises that IoT brings to the healthcare system, there are certain flaws that should thoroughly be addressed.

To start with, connected devices are at a high risk of exposure to hacks and manipulation due to the old hardware and software components most are built with. In other instances, the problem lies in the fact that they are mass-produced for the average, non-tech-savvy user. Thus, they lack what should have been basic security protocols.

This has given rise to the truth that these units can be hacked, hijacked, and manipulated by unauthorized individuals. Just imagine a pacemaker being held over the patient in ransom, or an insulin injection pump being reconfigured to deliver the wrong doses.

To make sure that is not an issue:
● Set strong passwords for your connected devices. Don’t keep using the default password that comes with it.
● Don’t plug your medical IoT devices into just about any device.
● Refrain from using them on public Wi-Fi networks due to their almost non-existent level of encryption.
● Even when using medical devices on your home network, we recommend layering your connection over a VPN for the best encryption and data privacy
● If you suspect any irregular activity, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Guest Post by Chris Jones, TurnOnVPN

Understanding the Art of Facebook Remarketing

Remarketing is one of the most popular trends in Facebook marketing, and it offers a number of benefits that every business should take advantage of. Once a user goes to your website or performs another specified action, you can target them again with a remarketing workflow. You can remarket to your Facebook audience by using the Custom Audiences feature and creating a new audience based on your target behavior. Facebook provides a wide range of tools to help you customize retargeting campaigns and improve your customer relationships.

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The Benefits
Existing customers and readers are much more likely to convert than the average cold lead, so you’re missing out on an incredibly efficient source of revenue if you’re still not following up with remarketing content.

By advertising on Facebook, you have access to one of the largest audiences of any marketing platform. That’s why it’s a great starting point if your brand is new to remarketing. A strong remarketing campaign turns first-time readers who just learned about your brand into loyal customers who keep coming back.

Basic Audience Types
Facebook allows you to create three types of custom audiences: customer list, web traffic, and app activity. Each one enables you to reach out to a subset of your readers and provide more relevant content with a higher conversion rate.

Web traffic is the most well-known remarketing option, targeting users who recently visited your website. Facebook allows you to set up custom workflows based on which pages they accessed, giving you even more personalization options.

Using an existing contact list for Facebook remarketing blends multiple channels, and it can be extremely effective for businesses interested in omnichannel marketing. Using more than one channel to move subscribers through the sales funnel offers you more control than ever over the customer experience.

Layered Audiences
Even a single audience filter opens up new opportunities for personalization, and layering multiple custom audiences on top of each other allows for even more directed content. Of course, it takes time to learn about your target audience and develop messaging that responds to their needs.

Lookalike Audiences
While Custom Audiences allow you to target segments of your current audience, Lookalike Audiences enable you to reach out to new users who match certain characteristics of your existing fanbase. You can layer a Lookalike Audience over a Custom Audience to generate better leads and a higher conversion rate.

A/B Testing
Facebook’s A/B testing tool allows you to compare different versions of the same ad and see which one leads to better results. A/B test images, headlines, and other prominent elements of each ad whenever possible to improve click-through and conversion rates.

Facebook remarketing might seem complicated at first, but the platform offers everything marketers need to engineer relevant and profitable campaigns. Keep these tips in mind to optimize your Facebook marketing practices and differentiate your brand from the competition.

Guest Post by Ilan Nass, Taktical Digital

ITIL, Information Technology Infrastructure Library, ITIL Process, ITIL Framework, DevOps vs. ITIL?

Of all the IT people in the world, there are usually very few that are able to explain what DevOps is and how this methodology stands up against something as structured as Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

This lack of knowledge leads most individuals to believe that they have to choose between ITIL and DevOps. However, this is not the case. DevOps cant replace ITIL and vice versa. DevOps does not have the ability to solve all the problems that come with an ITIL environment and nor will implementing ITIL help perfect DevOps. What you need to do is build an ITIL process that helps the system with resilience.

Image Credit: FreshService/Youtube screencap

DevOps by nature is a philosophy a perspective that will help you address the problems that are faced by the operations and development teams working together or well in reality not working together. On the other hand, ITIL is a codified system of information technology service management (ITSM) that is designed to be a better integration for IT with the needs of the business and its strategies. There may be some parts of both of these methodologies that overlap, but at the end of the day, these two systems are used to solve different core issues. Depending on the issue that you want to solve you can choose the approach that you need. The best way to move forward would be to take into consideration what you already have and find out what you need.

First things first you need to know a little more about these systems.

This began as an environment for software development and thus most of the methodologies and tools that are found here focus on improving how your software is deployed. Continuous Integration and continuous delivery have transformed the process of deployment, and continuous monitoring helps provide real-time visibility to the entire IT infrastructure. DevOps is not only about Agile software but so much more.

A little bit of structure in anyone\’s life does no harm especially if it is in the IT assets or business process. There is a hybridization of operators and developers whose duties spill over and usually make up all of the different aspects of IT This is due to the fact that it is better to share information and work together to meet the goals of your business, it also helps your team to be more productive and creates a better working environment all around. One of the primary reasons why DevOps is most commonly described as a philosophy is that it is able to transform an organization with the help of its ideas at the same time you also take a step back and look at the underlying assumptions that come with IT work and reassess them.

You don’t need to have a specific individual handling part of your overall system that is discreet while assuming without the required proof that the system is working together. DevOps helps the team by allowing them to have an overall view of the IT process and take a call when there is a need for a modification in the system. This way your employees can do what is best for the business. Your coders will learn about the system while your operations executives will learn to code, all of them will need to keep an eye on the security and the collaboration or project management section of the business. What’s different between this and the more traditional forms of cross training? Well, DevOps aims to change the core practices with an idea of cross disciplines, it aims at making changes such as infrastructure as code which allows companies to replace servers that are as fragile as snowflakes by a repeatable, scalable deployment process that is matched to development, testing, QA, and the production environments.

ITIL, unlike DevOps, is a highly structured methodology that is specifically designed to increase the efficiency of your business and provide you with various statistics that will help in your IT operations. ITIL is a subtype of ITSM that focusses on the protocols required for the implementation, management, and improvement of the IT services from the business to the customer. As this system is so highly structured, there are various specialized terms that have to be learned in order to use it effectively. As this software is privately owned, there are many certifications and upgrades that you can do to your ITIL framework. This complexity and rigor of ITIL can often create an overhead for the shop as it can only be as efficient as its implementation. There is a lot of time and money that needs to be invested for ITIL.

Myths about ITIL and DevOps

DevOps is all about software deployment
DevOps covers all the different aspects of an IT service company such as breaking down silos, transparency, and collaboration.

They are both mutually exclusive
As mentioned earlier both their objectives are different so they can be used together

ITIL can only be suitably used for an enterprise company
Companies of any kind can utilize ITIL irrespective of the size

You need to invest a lot for ITIL and DevOps
Although there is a bit of investment needed initially these tools help you optimize your systems.

DevOps is an automation tool
It is neither automation nor a tool it is a philosophy.

Guest Post by Vaishali Gopi, FreshWorks Inc.

Vaishali Gopi
Digital Marketing Associate

Examples of good customer service in schools and what you can learn from each one of them

Customer service is usually associated with goods and services that the customer service will be provided to the customers that buy goods from a business or avail their services. Customer service is the bridge between the customer and the business. If the customer faces any problem or has any query that needs to be resolved, then it is through the customer service platform that the issue is resolved.

Image Credit: FreshDesk/Youtube screencap
The customer service representative has been trained to take care of or facilitate such matters. But this is the conventional form of customer service. Customer service can also be used in schools for providing a better dialogue between the students, parents and the school administration. The concept behind providing customer service in schools is the same as discussed above only the dynamic between the customers i.e. the students and the service provider i.e. the school, is different. The relationship is on a more personal and complex level. The treatment of the school shapes the future and progress of the student. The strategies and approaches put behind providing customer service in schools vary largely from other service providers. It requires an entirely different set of customer service skills on the part of a customer service representative i.e. the schools.
Following are examples of good customer service n schools and what you can learn from each one of them:
1. Technological upgrade- Technology has advanced drastically in the past decade. Things that required physical hardbound structure can now be easily digitized. The schools i.e. the customer service providers need to upgrade their system to the latest technology. Everyone wants to save time nowadays and certain tasks in school consume a lot of time like filling out paperwork. It is not just time but also the energy that is consumed. By digitizing the entire administrative system, there will be less paperwork and redundancy in information. This will save loads of time and help the customer as well as the school stay up to date with the technology.

2. Digitizing work- Schools have adopted smart boards and digitals means of education to provide the best learning experience to the students. This is restricted to the classrooms. Another form of better customer service would be to digitize the entire experience like used in most universities and colleges. Digitizing would include everything from class notes, presentations, homework and assignments among other things. This way no information will be lost as it will all be uploaded on the cloud and it would be easier for the students to access it as well.

3. User-friendly- The range of students involved in this digital transition would be wide since students from all the age group would be a part of it. Right from first grade to high school. Although the difference is that in the case of younger kids, the customer would be the parents on their behalf. But nonetheless, the spectrum is diverse. It is because of this fact that the online portal that the college would establish must be user-friendly which means that it should be designed in a manner that all customers will be able to use it. The customer service representative taking care of this aspect must have immense skills to accomplish this. Thus, he should be the first one to use it. The customer care representative must try on the portal himself and then conclude whether the customers, even those who are not technically sound, will be able to use it without any hiccups.

4. Humility- In situations like these, there are bound to be errors that would take place. In such cases generally, the teachers, in this case, customer care representatives, or the administration do not treat the parents or students as customers. The level of interaction is always leaning in the favor of the customer service representative rather than the customer himself which should be the other way round. The customer care representative, like in any other business or company, is supposed to deal with matters with humility and precision. This is where the customer service skills come into play. In case of an error, the customer service representative must treat the customer humbly and learning to apologize in case of inconvenience. There must be no scope of keeping their ego in the middle of a situation.

5. Positive attitude- The administration and the school in its entirety must keep a positive outlook and attitude towards the parents. This dynamic can be achieved exactly in the way a customer would be treated in a business scenario. By keeping a positive outlook the customer care representative encourages a positive outcome. The ultimate goal is to achieve customer satisfaction and that can be gained by keeping positivity around the workspace. If the customer care representative is happy and skilled, then they will work rigorously towards keeping their customers satisfied. The situation in schools is slightly different from businesses because it is the future and groom of a student at stake. So the customer care representatives i.e. the teachers and administration must keep in mind to have a positive and correct outlook of all the work that takes place in the school.

Guest Post by Vaishali Gopi, FreshWorks Inc.
Vaishali Gopi
Digital Marketing Associate