Weekly News Digest for RemoteHub Job Categories

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Web, Mobile&IT

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In 2022, a Top Design Firms survey found that 48 percent of small businesses had a mobile app to connect with their customers, and 27 percent planned to launch one in the near future. However, companies have to decide whether to develop a native app or a progressive web app (PWA).

The Plusses of Progressive Web Apps

PWAs have benefits for developers:

  • They are built with web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which many developers are familiar with, unlike building a team to create apps for iOS, which takes resources with specialized skills.
  • PWAs are developed from a single code base for any device.
  • Developers can leverage web plugins to develop PWAs to help keep development time and costs low.
  • You can use HTTPS to enable secure data exchange in contrast with native apps that require additional security measures, like multifactor authentication (MFA).
  • PWAs are “offline-first,” using content from the cache before contacting the server. Using service worker APIs, it’s possible to create seamless offline experiences.

What’s the Downside of PWAs?

Even though the list of PWA pros is long, there are also some cons. For example, they can have limits to their functionality on some operating systems, particularly iOS. Additionally, they can’t take advantage of all device capabilities, which can impact access to NFC, Bluetooth, proximity sensors, camera controls, or geofencing. They can also quickly eat up battery power.

Another downside is that users don’t find them in an app store. As a result, app developers lose the marketing opportunity to increase their brand visibility and showcase their apps there.

What’s the Best Path Forward?

App developers should look for opportunities to develop PWAs for businesses to use internally, for example, for field workers in utility, mining, or construction companies. With pre-caching, these users can gain offline capabilities, and with the company controlling the devices that employees use, the app can be designed to work optimally with them.

The idea of creating apps for the web is less than two decades old, but these lightweight apps that load quickly, work offline, and keep development costs low are increasing in popularity. Evaluate your business and consider whether developing PWAs is a smart step forward for you and your clients.

Source: Devpro Journal


Sales and Marketing Leaders Seek Better Collaboration to Drive Revenue Growth, Says CMO Council Report

More than 70% of marketers don’t feel very confident in their current sales and marketing model to sell effectively in the digitized customer journey, according to a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council report, produced in partnership with KPMG LLP.

The report, “Sales & Marketing: Driving Revenue Through Collaboration,” examines the marketing and sales relationship and how it should evolve. The report found that the ability to share customer insights, gathered by data science as well as AI and machine learning, with the sales team to inform the pipeline is one of the defining traits of the new sales-marketing relationship.

Key findings include:

  • 70% of marketers don’t feel very confident in their current sales and marketing model to sell effectively in the digitalized customer journey
  • 60% say marketing and sales don’t co-own customer strategy and data
  • 61% of marketers say fragmented technology across marketing, sales and service restrains better sales-marketing alignment

“Sales and marketing will have to redefine their relationship to enable new customer-centric purchasing paths. This requires an entirely new way to collaborate across customer strategy and data, initiatives, technology, activities and metrics,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

CMOs should adopt four sales-marketing alignment initiatives to better support the digitalized customer journey and self-reliant buyer:

  • Collaborate to achieve business objectives (e.g., revenue, customer acquisition, market share)
  • Collaborate on marketing and sales campaigns that drive lead gen
  • Define shared KPIs for marketing and sales
  • Align on customer personas

“To sell effectively to the new self-reliant digital buyer and enable the purchasing paths customers seek, marketing and sales teams need to have the same goals, speak the same language, and hold each other accountable,” said Jason Galloway, Customer Advisory Lead and Marketing Consulting Practice Lead, KPMG LLP. “The keys to building a strong sales-marketing relationship include co-ownership of customer strategy and data, the agility and ability to hand off real-time data insights and employing the right technologies to share metrics and ensure consistent communication. The next twelve months are critical for marketing and sales teams to integrate data and optimize touch points across the customer journey.”

Source: GlobeNewswire


How To Start A Consulting Business In 2023

Those with a high degree of expertise in a particular field can leverage their knowledge to build a profitable consulting business. Whether you’re in between jobs or looking to make a change, learning how to start a consulting business is the first step to making great use of your skills. In return, you can create a lucrative business and can charge upwards of $300 per hour–all for sharing your expertise with others. Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Outline Your Plan

The first choice to make is your business name. Since you’re starting an individual consulting business, your business name can be your personal name as a trade name or a business name. If you have a name that you want to use that feels more recognizable and eye-catching, make sure you factor the registration costs into your original budget.

2. Register Your Consulting Business

You’ll need to register with your state’s Secretary of State as a sole proprietorship or as an LLC. You should also check to see if there are other legal requirements for small businesses in your state. If you are planning to grow the business, registering as an LLC will make it easier to track your business expenses for taxes. It can cost about $50 to $100 to register your business online, depending on the state.

3. Determine Services and Pricing

Determining your rates also means determining what kind of services you want to offer. Consultants offer a variety of services. You can offer a wide range of support for a business, but do less of a deep dive. Alternatively, you can be hyper-specific in your expertise and go deep on a certain aspect of a company’s business. For example, if you’re an HR consultant, you can take a larger view of a company’s HR operations, or focus on their hiring practices for a specific department.

4. Build Your Website

Building a website can seem intimidating, but many of the best website builders make it easy for beginners to create a site without any experience or coding knowledge. However, keep in mind that websites do require ongoing maintenance, so you might want to hire a virtual assistant or work some time into your calendar to do regular website maintenance and updating.

5. Market Your Consulting Business

Marketing a new business can be difficult, but being diligent about finding new marketing channels and leveraging connections will make it a lot easier.Working on this yourself, in the beginning, will require a fair amount of time, but when your business grows, you might be able to hire a social media strategist or partner to work on finding business leads.

Source: Forbes

Customer Support

Ada Announces First Omnichannel Generative AI Suite for Customer Service

Ada, the leading AI-powered customer service automation platform, announced the launch of a new suite of generative AI capabilities to help companies resolve complex customer inquiries across channels instantly, and in a safe and accurate manner. The launch rings in a new era of automation — one that leverages LLMs to effortlessly modernize customer service across voice, SMS, and messaging channels. 

The need for customer service automation is at an all-time high. More people are searching for companies that can take them off hold and deliver modern CX in every channel. While many are flocking to chat automation for self-serve support, phone support continues to be the most popular — and expensive — customer service channel. To help customer service leaders keep pace with these new expectations, Ada expanded its platform with new generative AI and voice capabilities that enable organizations to drive true omnichannel automation. 

“Ada has been at the forefront of customer service automation for the past six years, and our most trailblazing clients have experienced first-hand how AI and automation can revolutionize their CX,” said Ada Co-Founder and CEO, Mike Murchison. “With the addition of Voice, Ada is the first company in the world to offer one customer service automation platform, powered by generative AI, that works for both messaging and voice. This gives companies the ability to create truly omnichannel experiences — building once and resolving inquiries on phone and messaging channels without having to duplicate efforts.”

Ada’s Copilot capabilities enable CX teams to lean on Generative AI to produce content, connect automation to existing knowledge sources, and take actions on behalf of customers. Instead of spending time building automation, bot managers can verify and monitor conversation flows to ensure the continuous improvement of customer service automation – ultimately leading to more automated resolutions. Similarly, Ada Voice enables companies to bypass the unnecessary complexity of traditional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automation and power more sophisticated voice experiences with less effort. Ada has partnered with a number of companies in an early access program, including Wealthsimple. 

“Automation has always been integral to how we deliver a seamless, delightful experience to our clients, and maximizes the time our people can spend directly with them,” said Wealthsimple’s Chief Client Experience Officer, Paul Teshima. “Generative AI holds huge potential for transforming the quality of a client’s support experience and we’re excited to work with Ada and explore how their solutions can empower our employees and our clients.”

Source: PR Newswire


Waiting for quantum computers to arrive, software engineers get creative

Quantum computers promise to be millions of times faster than today’s fastest supercomputers, potentially revolutionizing everything from medical research to the way people solve problems of climate change. The wait for these machines, though, has been long, despite the billions poured into them.

But the uncertainty and the dismal stock performance of publicly-listed quantum computer companies including Rigetti Computing Inc (RGTI.O) have not scared investors away. Some are turning to startups who are pivoting to using powerful chips to run quantum-inspired software on regular computers as they bide their time.

QC Ware, a software startup that has raised more than $33 million and initially focused only on software that could run on quantum computers, said it needed to change tack and find a solution for clients today until the future quantum machines arrive.

So, QC Ware CEO Matt Johnson said it turned to Nvidia Corp’s (NVDA.O) graphic processing units (GPU) to “figure out how can we get them something that is a big step change in performance … and build a bridge to quantum processing in the future.”

This week, QC Ware is unveiling a quantum-inspired software platform called Promethium that will simulate chemical molecules – to see how they interact with things like protein – on a traditional computer using GPUs.

The software can cut simulation time from hours to minutes for molecules of 100 atoms, and months to hours for molecules of up to 2000 atoms, compared with existing software solutions, said QC Ware’s head of quantum chemistry Robert Parrish.

In the past 18 months, quantum software startups including SandBoxAQ – an Alphabet spinoff – raised about $1 billion, according to data firm PitchBook. To be sure, development of this technology is nascent and these startups must work hard to convince some prospective clients.

SandBoxAQ CEO Jack Hidary said it was only 24 months ago that AI chips became powerful enough to simulate hundreds of thousands of chemical interactions simultaneously.

It developed a quantum-inspired algorithm for biopharma simulation on Google’s AI chip called a Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) that generates revenue today. SandBoxAQ told Reuters in February it raised $500 million.

Ultimately, the software inspired by quantum physics won’t perform well on quantum computers without some changes, said William Hurley, boss of Austin-based quantum software startup Strangeworks.

Strangeworks, which also operates a cloud with over 60 quantum computers on it, raised $24 million last month from investors including IBM (IBM.N).

Source: Reuters


How to create colorful character design with Loish

When working digitally (here using Photoshop), creating a bright color scheme is easier said than done, given that there isn’t a specific setting for neon colors. In order to create a similar effect, it’s much more about how the colors interact with one another. The relationships between the highlight and shadow colors are what determine whether the colors look bright, so it’s really important to think about the palette as a whole throughout the process.

01. How I create a vivid color palette

First, I add flat colors below my sketch. When choosing these, I like to start with one color and move on from there. That makes it easier to ensure they interact in a harmonious way. After that, I set my sketch layer to Multiply and change the color to something that blends well with the flat colors below.

Finally, I break up any flat areas by using color variation, for example adding purples, blues and greens to the shadows. This gives an iridescent sort of effect. Whenever possible, I try to use colors already on the canvas so that they are distributed over the painting in a way that catches the eye!

02. I start with my old drawing

This is the original version of the drawing that I created back in 2003. Back then, I had a much more simplified and chunky style. I like revisiting older pieces every so often. It’s always interesting to see how I approach the same subject with an updated skill set.

03. Making color modifications

One of my favorite parts of creating digital art is the ability to modify the colors. Tools like Selective Color help me amplify specific aspects of the color scheme. For this drawing, I found it helpful to tone down the whites and intensify the reds and pinks for an electric, glowing feel!

04. Using a bright highlight

A technique that I often find helpful for giving more dimension to my character art is adding a bright highlight on one side. It’s fairly easy to do and instantly gives a lot of depth. I tend to draw these on a separate layer on top, so I can easily tweak and adjust them.

05. Adding freckles

I like to get a rough color scheme down at an early stage and then use the colors already on the canvas to render and detail. In this case, I used a dark blue for the freckles and a bright teal for the shine on the eye. Those colors were all picked from other areas of the image.

06. Creating a focal point

When drawing characters, it’s really important to pick a focal point where you want people to look first. In the case of my art, that’s often the face and hair. For this particular drawing, I emphasized the focal point by applying the brightest, most intense color to this area!

07. Changing the color of the sketch’s lines

Artists often draw their sketch lines in black, but this doesn’t usually do much for the color scheme. I always recommend setting the sketch layer to Multiply and then changing the color of the lines to something brighter. This creates way more interesting shadow colors and mid-tones.

08. Adding interesting shadow colors

This spot on the elbow is a good example of how I try to add interesting highlight and shadow colors. I’ve added some bright yellow to the highlights, as well as bright blue to the shadows. This combines well with the vivid pink still showing through from the sketch lines.

Source: Creative Bloq


Art Talk with NEA Literature Translation Fellow Jennifer Shyue

Shyue is an accomplished translator focusing on contemporary Cuban and Asian-Peruvian writers, translating both poetry and prose. Her work has been published in Poetry Magazine, McSweeney’s, and Guernica, among other literary journals.

Shyue sat down with the NEA to discuss her translation process, love of wordplay, and friendship and working relationship with Wong Kcomt.

NEA: What attracted you to translation as a creative process?

JENNIFER SHYUE: I took a translation workshop my sophomore year of college because it was in the Spanish department and fit some language requirements I had to do for my major, which was comparative literature. I just fell head over heels in love. I had done some creative writing in college and frankly, literary translation felt like all the most fun parts of writing fiction and very few of the more stressful parts. I’ve always loved reading and as they say, translation is the deepest form of reading. Being able to play both sides of the coin, both playing the role of the reader and then writing a translation, still brings me so much joy.

NEA: You said translation is like the best parts of writing. What you mean by that?

SHYUE: I would say playing with language and bringing a story to life, obviously in different ways as a writer of original work and as a writer of translation, is really fun – the work of weaving a larger piece together that then goes out into the world.

NEA: Does your friendship with Wong Kcomt inform your translations? How so?

SHYUE: It definitely informs my translations. It’s been really wonderful to have access to her, and often she so generously shares where the seed of a poem or a piece originated. I very much believe in translation as a collaborative process, so getting her instincts on what feels right and what feels wrong is also really helpful.

Getting a behind-the-curtain look at the themes in her life that make for some of the themes in her work has been illuminating, and also really makes me really appreciate her as a person.

NEA: You translate both poetry and prose – do you feel there is a difference in the process of translating one versus the other?

SHYUE: The experience of translating poetry and prose definitely feels different, generally. I would say that because the real estate of poetry, just how much space it takes on the page, is often so much more compressed, it feels like I’m poring over the words at a slower pace.

I recently worked on a novella by the Japanese-Peruvian writer Augusto Higa Oshiro that really felt like translating poetry but in prose form because he bends prose convention in a lot of ways and also pays a lot of attention to language. I felt myself getting more tired more quickly because it felt like my attention had to be sustained for longer units – there are more pages to tackle as a unit. The unit of a piece of prose is often longer words-wise than a unit piece of poetry.

NEA: You talk about loving to play with words and there are so many languages across the world where there may not be a direct English translation for a word. How do you approach those moments?

SHYUE: I think that’s such an interesting question. Personally, I don’t believe in untranslatable words. We may not have exact corresponding words, but we can describe what that word means.

I also question this notion of literal translation. Every act of translation is interpretation. That’s what makes translation an art and its own form of writing. I think that is part of the process, bringing my lens as a reader to a work I’m translating. Readers are also interpreters, and moving those interpretations into words on a page is part of the great joy of translation.

Source: NEA


Legal and finance jobs are among the most at risk from AI, while construction and trade jobs face minimal influence, studies suggest

Generative AI, a type of AI capable of generating text and other content in response to user prompts, has exploded in popularity in recent months following the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Some companies have already tapped the chatbot to take on content-producing roles.

A recent report from Goldman Sachs found the tech could significantly disrupt the labor market, with it affecting about 300 million full-time jobs or 18% of work. Another recent study, from OpenAI with the University of Pennsylvania, found OpenAI’s AI chatbot ChatGPT could affect around 80% of jobs in the US. White-collar roles could be among the worst hit, the study also found. 

While the studies predicted advances in AI tech could also improve labor productivity and create jobs, they said some industries would likely be more affected than others.

A study released in March by researchers at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University, estimated that legal was the industry most likely influenced by AI tech like ChatGPT. The researchers used a benchmark that matched specific work tasks with AI capabilities to calculate the results. 

Manav Raj, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told Insider this was because the industry was made up of a relatively small number of occupations already exposed to automation, such as legal assistants. 

The report from Goldman Sachs, which relies on an analysis of data on occupational tasks in the US and Europe, also highlighted legal workers as especially at risk from the new tech.

Banks are already incorporating AI tech into their day-to-day business operations.

More than half of banks say they’ve used the tech for revenue generation, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the World Economic Forum. Financial quantitative analysts were also identified in a study led by OpenAI and the University of Pennsylvania as one of the occupations highly exposed to advanced AI technology. 

Source: Insider


How AI can help sustain health systems

Dr. Tim O’Connell is a practicing radiologist and founder and CEO of intelligent (HIMSS23 Booth 6017), which works with healthcare provider organizations to structure unstructured medical data with the aim of boosting safety, operating efficiency and the quality of care.

Q. What is the most pressing issue or trend facing healthcare information technology at this moment as the industry gathers for HIMSS23?

A. We should never forget that information technology as a practice and industry exists to serve its users, which are both healthcare professionals and – perhaps more importantly – their patients. If we instead ask, “What is the most pressing issue facing healthcare IT users today,” I would argue the biggest issue is that of sustainability of our health systems.

I don’t mean sustainability in terms of the environmental impact of IT servers and data centers, though that clearly is important. Rather, I’m talking about the current issues we face in healthcare that are increasing costs and decreasing service levels across the industry.

These are things like an aging population that requires more healthcare, decreasing reimbursement, providers retiring from the industry due to burnout, an aging infrastructure and IT projects with billion-dollar price tags that require organizations to turn themselves inside-out to implement.

The entire healthcare IT industry needs to come together to build new and better solutions that can be implemented to address these needs. More foundational technologies like standards and interoperability need to be created and used.

We need to work with users to enable new and smarter workflows in healthcare to improve system efficiency – always the low-hanging fruit – instead of just trying to scale up with more of the same.

Q. What is the primary message that your company is trying to get through to the healthcare provider organization health IT leaders on the exhibit floor at HIMSS23?

A. Our primary message is that we have a technology that is ready to use today to achieve some of these sustainability goals. It’s a natural language processing [NLP] platform, and like all AI products, it is a work in progress. There are ways to safely implement it today that can increase service levels and reduce manual human effort, and by doing so, improve system efficiency and sustainability.

Using NLP in this way, if we can save care providers 15 minutes a day – and reduce frustration – think of what that means for reducing burnout. If we can help payers have better actuarial models, it may mean lower rates for patients.

If we can help hospital administrators have better data about what is going on inside the walls of their institutions, they’ll be able to make better decisions about staffing and care delivery.

Q. What should CIOs, CMIOs, CISOs and other health IT leaders at provider organizations keep their eyes on in the year ahead?

A. One of the things they need to be very careful with is as we enter this amazing age of AI with its promises to improve sustainability is having appropriate oversight of all the projects involving AI going on inside of their institutions.

There is great risk that some well-meaning individual in their organization will either come up with a home-brewed project or bring in an outside vendor – even possibly hidden in an existing vendor – that lacks appropriate oversight and starts influencing patient care in negative or unforeseen ways.

There needs to be institution-wide oversight of all projects involving AI in healthcare, and one solution might be that we need “CAIOs,” or “Chief AI Officers,” who understand machine learning and healthcare workflows and regulation and healthcare oversight to ensure that all of these projects can be tracked and ensure safe implementation.

With regard to Mark Zuckerberg’s motto of “Move fast and break things”? Move fast – yes – we need to improve our health systems quickly. But “break things”? Definitely not in healthcare.

Source: Healthcare IT News

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