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AI Software in the Workplace – How It Can Upskill Employees

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A lot of credit for the fast-changing way we work goes to artificial intelligence. AI and machine learning are increasingly powering workplace platforms and tools because sophisticated automation tools can relieve workers from tasks that are too dull or dangerous. Therefore, employees can focus more on higher-level work. Artificial intelligence can be utilized to enable individual knowledge workers, boosting their productivity and feeding them timely information furthering key business objectives.

Enterprise software development faced an amazing evolution in the past few years, thus making more and more businesses look for software development services to create integrated solutions that give the opportunity to expand and improve their employees’ experience better than ever.

Simplifying HR

Technological advancements have completely changed the human resources game in the last several years. Modern businesses are frequently global and diverse meaning that they have employees scattered all over the world making HR professionals to struggle with a never-ending paper trail. Positive HR policies and environments are keys to retaining staff long-term, but due to differing policies, processes, regulation, and systems, HR staff have a lot of their time tied up in answering the requests and questions of the employees. Even the simple act of finding how many days of holiday someone has left can result in multiple emails sent across an organization and a lot of documents to look through. Yet, AI enterprise solutions can help by saving valuable time for both the employee asking the question and the HR professional trying to respond. Also, AI can be valuable in automating repetitive recruiting tasks such as sourcing resumes, scheduling interviews, and providing feedback.

Employee engagement

HR professionals put great importance on employee engagement for the success of a business. But what it means to have engaged employees? According to them, engaged employees are the enthusiastic and passionate workers that are willing to work hard to contribute to the growth of the organization that they are working for. for today’s business leader, employee engagement is seen as the holy grail that can make a difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow. Artificial intelligence is expected to create a healthier, more productive, and accessible work environment for employees. A healthy and safe workplace is known to engage workers in innovation and the process of contributing to a company’s success.

Entrepreneurs have the responsibility to ensure that the workplaces they offer to their employees keep them satisfied, safe, and positive so that they can remain productive and focused on the job.

For example, well-being technology has already become a big deal in the business world because there is strong evidence that suggests that it positively affects outcomes in the workplace. Emotional and physical wellbeing technology is used in workplaces to capture employee information, analyze it and identify workers who struggle with productivity or happiness in the office. A healthy employee is a happy employee who will use their best qualities to contribute to a company’s success.

Create engagement opportunities

Happy and engaged employees are surely one of the more important keys for organization growth. Artificial intelligence integrated into businesses is expected to improve operations and boost employee engagement by creating engagement opportunities. For example, AI-powered solutions can engage remote employees effectively by providing both real-time performance monitoring to the employer and by providing access to business data to the employees from all over the world. Thus, artificial intelligence enterprise software helps employees and employers from all over the world to stay connected and make informed business decisions that contribute to improved business processes and the organization’s growth.

Employee and staff performance monitoring

Employee monitoring often paints a picture of a nagging boss trying to control every aspect of a helpless employee’s life. So, naturally, the idea of monitoring is something every employee hate. However, it is a crucial component in the overall management of an organization allowing both entrepreneurs and their employees alike to understand how their time is being spent. It can help people become the best version of themselves on the job.   AI software can be used for employee monitoring to both enable employers to get their money’s worth out of their employees and help employees get better at their jobs. Humans need motivation to perform efficiently at their jobs and monitoring can be the tool to provide it. for example, employees can use time-tracking software to keep track of how they spend their time and derive valuable insights such as how they can be more productive on the job. Also, employers are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their employees. For example, AI-powered monitoring software can help them to rightly decide which employees qualify for promotions based on their productivity, work ethics, and contribution to the company’s growth.

A solution to the data nightmare

The huge amount of data generated daily is a nightmare and a common reason for stress for employees. One of the biggest challenges in the workplace for employees is to struggle with documents and content scattered in disparate locations across their organization. Workers have to waste a significant amount of time and energy to find a file or document that is crucial for completing their tasks because the business data is hard to access when it is not centralized in enterprise software. AI advancements have set the stage for an intelligent assistant that is designed to help employees do data-oriented tasks such as prioritizing high-importance emails, balance workflows, and attach relevant content to emails. This assistant can make employees’ life easier in this age of information overload that the business world is experiencing.  Leaner information sharing and access boosts higher productivity across the company.

The rise of artificial intelligence has transformed the way organizations manage employee engagement and the way employees work. It can help companies to boost the bottom line through the improved usage of available resources, increased employee satisfaction, and better productivity.

The post AI Software in the Workplace – How It Can Upskill Employees appeared first on 1redDrop.

Source: https://1reddrop.com/2019/05/16/ai-software-in-the-workplace-how-it-can-upskill-employees/

Blockchain

Market Analysis Report (24 Sep 2020)

DACOM Summit Announces CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkovitz as Keynote Speake | Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini Exchange Now Allows Buying Crypto With British Pound | Leading Crypto Payments Platform Wirex Announces Launch of $1.2 Million Crowdfunding

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Leading crypto payments platform Wirex has announced its first crowdfunding round, aimed at raising £1 million ($1.2 million) with the intention to scale-up in the coming months. 

In a press release, the fintech firm detailed it is giving customers and fans the opportunity to invest in it via the crowdfunding round, to which pre-registrations are now open. The crowdfunding round is expected to be “one of the largest and most successful campaigns” carried out by the equity platform Crowdcube.

Pavel Matveev, CEO and co-founder of Wirex, said the decision to crowdfund came at a crucial period in the company’s development. He said:

“Wirex has been making huge strides in changing the financial landscape, by making it easier for everyone to access cryptocurrency and spend it in the everyday. By offering a platform that bridges the traditional and digital economy, we are helping to encourage the mass adoption of cryptocurrency for future generations.”

Since 2014, Wirex has become a popular platform for crypto-enabled payment solutions and providing businesses and individuals an alternative to conventional finance. 

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Brazil’s Rainforests Are Getting a $182 Million Blockchain Boost

The world’s largest meat-processor aims to use blockchain technology to curb the country’s rising deforestation.

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In brief

  • A Brazilian meat-processor announced a $182 million fund on Wednesday to curb deforestation in the country.
  • The firm will invest over $44 million until 2025 and expects other companies to match funding efforts.
  • Deforestation has hit record levels in Brazil, which is facing backlash for its failure to control the concern.

Brazil-based JBS, the world’s leading firm for meat processing and packing, said Wednesday it would deploy blockchain technology to combat the rising ill-effects of deforestation by meat suppliers in South America, according to news outlet Reuters.

The firm vowed to monitor its entire supply chain using blockchain by 2025, amidst widespread concerns from environmentalists about rapidly diminishing forest cover in the country. Brazil’s meat industry, among others, is said to contribute to deforestation as meat producers clear out vast areas for cattle pasture.

So far, meatpackers in Brazil, such as JBS, have ensured they do not source meat from farms that illegally cut forests. However, such a system just monitors and measures activity from its final suppliers—leaving space for indirect suppliers (which supply to JBS’s suppliers) to evade such monitoring and eventually manage to sell their product to firms like JBS.

Brazil rainforests are facing a threat from local industries. Image: Shutterstock

But blockchain technology could present a solution for that, said JBS. It launched a $182.77 million fund yesterday to foster social and economic development in the Amazonian rainforest region, aiming to invest over $44 million in the next five years, and another equal amount from then on to 2030.

Other local and international firms are expected to join the project and contribute the remaining amount, the report noted.

The funds will allow JBS to build an expansive blockchain system that tracks every supplier on its meat supply network, both direct and indirect. “Currently, the company does not monitor indirect suppliers and no company does so. But we plan to close this gap using technology,” said JBS CEO Gilberto Tomazoni.

Tomazoni added the firm’s 50,000 direct suppliers were, however, already monitored. Meanwhile, JBS is expected to launch the system in 2021, starting in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. 

The development comes at a time when global meat importers, such as Norway, have threatened to pull out their investments from Brazil if the country fails to curb deforestation, noted the report.

Deforestation has remained a global concern since the last decade, with regions like the Amazonian rainforest in South America among the most affected. Data from last year showed that Amazon deforestation hit levels last seen in 2006. So, it will take a major effort to turn the situation around.

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Iran Is Ripe for Bitcoin Adoption, Even as Government Clamps Down on Mining

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Iran-based bitcoiner Zahra Amini was used to answering questions on cryptocurrencies, but usually about their relationship with crime. So when a 70-year-old man recently asked her to explain crypto because he no longer wanted to rely on the national rial, Amini felt something had changed. 

“If people that age are thinking about storing their wealth in anything rather than the national rial, it’s because they are just losing confidence in it, and more and more people are looking for alternatives,” Amini told CoinDesk. 

Bitcoin is increasingly relevant in Iran as the country suffers from an economic downturn fueled by U.S. sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. Bitcoin’s independence from government control makes it an attractive option for individuals hoping to hold on to the value of their earnings as the rial suffers from inflation

Read more: Iran Concerns May Be Driving Trump Administration’s Talk of New Crypto Rules

Amini openly advocates for bitcoin and joked that she wouldn’t mind stopping people in the streets to tell them about the cryptocurrency. Speaking to CoinDesk, fellow Iranian and “bitcoin maximalist” Ziya Sadr went so far as to say that holding wealth in rials can mean losing money everyday

Iran’s famously repressive government has not snuffed out cryptocurrency. It has recognized bitcoin mining as a legitimate industry that could bring wealth into the country, though it risks suffocating it with too much regulation. The country’s central bank has also endorsed the creation of a national digital currency.

U.S. sanctions

After the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and reinstated economic sanctions, Iran’s economy fell into an ongoing recession. Its national currency, the rial, lost over half of its value against the dollar. In June 2020, with the pandemic putting pressure on economies across the globe, one dollar was worth more than 66,000 rials. By August, Iran’s year-on-year inflation rate rose over 25% despite President Hassan Rouhani’s government trying to curb it, which included replacing its local currency with the toman (each worth 10,000 rials). 

Although bitcoin may help Iranians circumvent U.S. sanctions in certain cases, it is now showing promise as a hedge against inflation. Some Iranian students abroad are using bitcoin to pay their tuition, and a convenience store in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran’s Kurdish province, is now accepting the digital currency as payment. According to data provided by Iranian bitcoin exchange EXIR, the platform saw a 200% increase in users over the past three years. 

Read more: FinCEN Blasts Iran’s “Malign” Use of Crypto to Bypass Sanctions 

The platform, launched in February of 2017, now serves over 63,000 users. A new Chainalysis report on the geography of crypto revealed Iran as the second highest-ranking country in the region for crypto adoption, placing 52nd on the Global Crypto Adoption Index. 

“I know people from my family who were killed for holding gold. So I know what bitcoin offers to us.”

While Iranians are quietly exploring new use cases for what Amini calls “magic money,” the government has been hyper focused on regulating the local bitcoin mining industry, whose growth is partly due to cheap, subsidized electricity. Bitcoin mining was legalized last year and Iran still appears to be a mining hub with the government approving over 1,000 mining permits since then. But government scrutiny and compliance requirements are making it difficult for miners to operate. 

What bitcoin offers

Ehsan Ghazizade launched Tehran-based crypto exchange EXIR in 2017, the same year bitcoin had its historic bull run. Back then, Iranians could register on international exchanges like Bittrex and Poloniex, Ghazizade told CoinDesk. But in 2018, the U.S. government exposed the identities of Iranians involved in a crypto hack. Last year, the Helsinki-based LocalBitcoins peer-to-peer trading platform cut off Iran-based users from accessing its services after suspicions arose that Iranians might be using crypto to circumvent sanctions.

Read More: Binance Warns Iranian Traders to Withdraw Crypto Amid Sanctions

In such an atmosphere, Iranian users started looking for a local platform to invest and trade their crypto assets without missing out on bitcoin price jumps, Ghazizade said.

Even though the number of users on his platform grew quickly over the three years, EXIR’s trading volumes tell a different story, showing a drop in 2020 despite the inflationary rial and the bitcoin price run.  

“Because the bitcoin price fluctuation in Iranian toman is very high and most Iranian users cannot trade in huge amounts, we have grown in the number of trades but saw a drop in total volume at this time span,” Ghazizade said. 

The self-described “bitcoin maximalist” Sadr, for example, does not trade bitcoin at all. He gets paid in bitcoin for providing tech services for companies abroad. The pinned tweet on Sadr’s profile is a list of payment methods he cannot use from Iran like Visa, Master, Apple Pay, and PayPal. So whenever bitcoin is accepted as a payment method, mostly on the internet, he uses the cryptocurrency. 

Bitcoin provides privacy in transactions, and is not completely vulnerable to censorship from the government, Sadr said. He primarily uses bitcoin to purchase virtual private network (VPN) services so that he can bypass internet censorship to access apps like Telegram, which are banned in Iran. He also buys digital merchandise including game accounts and gift cards. 

In 2017, before U.S. sanctions, Iran set the poverty line at around $480 a month. At the time, 33% of the population (24 million people) fell below the line. Even for Sadr, who earns a decent living, purchasing a smartphone costing upwards of $200 is a difficult task. 

“If you get paid $500 a month in Iran, you’re on the wealthy side,” Sadr said. 

He prefers to store his earnings in bitcoin because he has the option of storing it electronically. In addition to the cap imposed on dollar or euro deposits that can be held in regulated banks in an effort to support the rial, a general distrust in traditional banks has led to people storing U.S. dollars under mattresses at home. But physically holding dollars or gold comes with its own risks of robbery and violence. 

“I know people from my family who were killed for holding gold. So I know what bitcoin offers to us. If I’m changing my income to bitcoin, it’s because I don’t want to get into trouble holding it physically and I don’t want to lose the value of my money,” Sadr said. 

Regulating banks and exchanges

In 2018, the central bank of Iran (CBI) banned the country’s banks from dealing in virtual currencies. According to Iranian crypto lawyer Arman Babagol, the ban was in line with most other jurisdictions concerned about money laundering and terrorism funding. But there was also the added fear of a digital currency undermining the rial: the government debated banning Telegram when it announced its initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018 for the “gram” token.  

Iran ultimately didn’t ban citizens from dealing in cryptocurrencies, but warned them of accepting the responsibility of risk should they decide to use it, Babagol told CoinDesk. He said that as one of the few attorneys in the country familiar with crypto-related laws, he is now inundated with crypto scam cases. He also handles mining cases, and one took him from Tehran to the Pakistan border to help a client that was accused of stealing electricity from the grid to power bitcoin mining. 

Read more: Iran’s Crypto Regulations:What’s Happening Behind Closed Doors

Right now, crypto exchanges don’t need a license to operate in Iran, Babagol said. Ghazizade confirmed this but doesn’t feel that will be the case for long. This year, amid fears that the pandemic will encourage capital outflow, the Iranian government is looking to tighten rules around cryptocurrencies under currency smuggling and foreign exchange laws to protect the rial against further devaluation. 

Even before sanctions came into place, the government began looking into the creation of its own national cryptocurrency. This state-backed currency would not be decentralized like Bitcoin, and could potentially even lead to the prohibition of unapproved digital currencies. Last year, four of Iran’s leading banks partnered with blockchain startup Kukonos to kickstart project “PayMon”: Iran’s own gold-backed digital currency. But Soheil Nikzad, who worked on the Kukonos project, told CoinDesk that the PayMon initiative has slowed down pending government approval after passing the regulatory sandbox.  

Borna, a second cryptocurrency project directly funded by the central bank of Iran, is developing the infrastructure to support a digital currency. 

Regulating mining 

Meanwhile bitcoin mining continues, but with restrictions. 

In 2016, Omid Alavi watched his brothers mining bitcoin from their home in Iran, and saw a business opportunity. A year later, the brothers had already branded their company Vira Miner and were opening industrial mining farms equipped with thousands of imported ASIC Antminer V9s

At the time, mining was not regulated and subsidized electricity costs were as low as $0.006 per kilowatt-hour. This piqued the interest of Iranian miners despite the fact that the country didn’t produce its own mining rigs. Equipment was mostly smuggled into the country from China, Alavi told CoinDesk. By the summer of 2019, he was overseeing up to eight farms. 

“Back then, it was a miner’s paradise,” Alavi said. 

The government grew increasingly aware of the large spikes in electricity consumption by mining farms like Alavi’s. Last year, deputy minister of electricity and energy Homayoun Haeri proposed miners should not be allowed to tap into the heavily subsidized electricity meant for citizens at no additional cost or tax. Days later, authorities shut down two mining outfits following a power spike and seized over 1,000 machines from two abandoned farms.

Yet in July 2020, less than a month following the incident, Iran declared bitcoin mining legal, and the industry came under the jurisdiction of Iran’s ministry of industry and mines. Haeri announced the government will vote on modified electricity rates for miners.

Read more: Iran May Fund Car Imports With Cryptocurrency Mining

According to Alavi, the following month, the government stormed his farms and seized over 6,000 machines. The incident cost him over $5 million and he is working with a non-governmental blockchain association to negotiate the return of his rigs even though their value has since depreciated, Alavi said. 

Now, Vira Miner has one of the 1,000 or more permits issued by the government to set up a farm. Local news reported around 14 farms have set up shop with these licenses. However, Alavi said miners need a second license to actually start operations. He is still waiting for one. 

Now that mining is legal, Alavi said he has to pay a tariff of over 20% on future imported mining equipment. Mining operations are fined for using subsidized electricity and equipment suspected of being smuggled into the country. According to Alavi, the ministry of energy is selling gas to bitcoin miners at 500 times the price it’s sold at to regular power plants. He also said that electricity rates are now higher for miners, costing up to $0.09 per kilowatt-hour. Earlier this year, the government gave miners a month to register in an effort to mitigate equipment smuggling and illegal mining.

In April 2020, the government licensed a Turkey-based company called iMiner to launch a bitcoin mining operation in Iran. The firm allegedly sank $7.3 million into setting up its mining facility in the country.

But a Telegram group with over 81,000 members is accusing the firm of running a Ponzi Scheme, paying initial investors with funds from new investors without actually mining anything. Prominent Iranian bitcoiners including Alavi and Babagol recently joined an advisory YouTube panel that openly accused the government-approved company of misleading investors.

“Between last year and now, [Iran] became a hell for miners,” Alavi said. 

Mining continues, however, with Iran having a 4% stake in global hashrate (the amount of computing power a country contributes to mining) and Iranian power plants selling excess power to mining operations.   

Meanwhile, veteran bitcoiners like Amini and Sadr are witnessing how crypto is actually changing lives. Adoption is small and slow, but it’s nonetheless increasing, Sadr said. According to Amini, people from the crypto community may come into the space to simply buy VPN or a book that they cannot buy otherwise. 

“But then, you can see some concerned mother who just wants to send some money to her child studying abroad,” Amini said, adding:

“You know, bitcoin is just more usable and more people are coming to this space not because of the technology, but because they don’t have any other option. We could consider this a beautiful thing.”

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/iran-is-ripe-for-bitcoin-adoption-even-as-government-clamps-down-on-mining

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