Category: Thoughts

social media in healthcare

Social Media in Healthcare: How Is It Useful?

Over time, the Internet and social media have had a great impact on healthcare and medicine. It is now being used by individuals and businesses to communicate, stay connected, and even market or buy/sell products or services. The use of social media in healthcare has skyrocketed in the recent years. Healthcare companies are now turning to social media platforms to promote awareness, encourage patient engagement, and enhance accurate health messaging. Some of the social media platforms available to healthcare companies include social networking sites, wikis, blogs, microblogs, media-sharing sites, and VR and gaming environments. Here are some of the ways that social media in healthcare is helping healtRequest Proposalhcare managers enhance their services and stay connected with the patients:

Information sharing

One of the main motives of social media is to help users access information quickly and communicate with one another easily. The use of social media in healthcare is helping healthcare companies in sharing general healthcare tips and information with patients. Sharing news regarding outbreaks or health hazards is an effective way for healthcare facilities to provide accurate information to patients Healthcare companies can also use social media to reply to customer queries. Relying on social media in healthcare is also helpful to keep the public updated on the latest medical technology, deliver generic pre- and post-operative care information, and introduce new doctors on social networks.

Quality benchmarks

Setting benchmarks is an essential step in measuring and improving the performance of any company. Medical professionals can leverage the use of social media in healthcare to evaluate competitors and gain insights into the services they offer.  By taking a look at different practices and their social media involvement, companies in the healthcare industry have the ability to mimic these methods to enhance their own. Furthermore, the use of social media in healthcare can provide doctors and physicians with immediate or real-time responses from individuals to help understand common reactions to medications, as well as an overall consensus from patients on innovations in the healthcare industry


Several healthcare companies have begun to utilize social media channels as a part of their training process. Trainees are encouraged to use particular hashtags on Twitter or join certain groups to engage one another during training sessions. This makes the training process more enjoyable and interactive. These training techniques provide trainees with a central location to ask questions and receive prompt responses. Social media gives participants the power to provide the trainers with immediate feedback on training sessions.

Communicate in crisis

In times of crisis, social media in healthcare can help provide minute-by-minute information to consumers. Through social media, hospitals and other medical organizations can deliver real-time updates on hospital capacity, operation status, and emergency room access. Moreover, having a strong and active social media presence facilitates healthcare companies to pass along information shared by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Red Cross, and or communicate with news outlets.

To know more about the trends and challenges in the use of social media in healthcare

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challenges of cloud computing

Challenges of Cloud Computing: 5 Things to Watch Out for in 2018

Today, businesses all around the globe have realized the enormous potential of cloud computing and have welcomed the technology with open arms. Cloud computing enables global collaboration and facilitates access to a pool of resources such as computer networks, apps, data, and services. The challenges of cloud computing are numerous, but the realization of the fact that it brings value to businesses has compelled organizations to transition to the cloud. Implementing cloud computing technology is no simple feat, it entails developing a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and the challenges of cloud computing. Like any other technology, implementing such solutions is not free from issues. But if you are unwilling to deal with them, you’ll never realize the value it can bring to your organization. That being said, here’s a list of some common challenges of cloud computing that businesses are facing this year:Ask An Analyst_IR

  1. Cost factor

Thanks to the growing popularity of the “pay as you go model, cloud computing has become affordable. However, customizing the cloud computing solution according to your business requirements is a pretty expensive affair. Since the cost of transferring data to the cloud is relatively high, smaller-sized businesses may find it challenging to make the transition to cloud computing. Though businesses can save huge amounts of money by moving their IT processes to the cloud, they have to invest in the additional bandwidth. This is one of the biggest challenges of cloud computing.

  1. Data security and supervision

One of the greatest challenges of cloud computing lies in ensuring the security and privacy of your business data. Even thinking about the fact that your company’s confidential data is hosted on an external server is enough to give you sleepless nights. Added to that, instances of hacking could expose the confidential data of your clients. To prevent this, you’ll have to invest heavily in tracking unusual activities, purchasing security tools for hardware, and using secure applications.

  1. Downtimes and reliability

Despite the rising popularity of cloud technologies, most service providers still lack the capability to offer round-the-clock services. Downtime is perhaps one of the most significant challenges of cloud computing. Even today, no service provider can offer you a platform that is free from possible downtimes. It is because of this issue that most small and medium-sizedAsk An Analyst_IR companies think twice before moving to the cloud.

  1. Portability issues

Despite the growing adoption of the “pay as you go model, some cloud service providers have a fixed “lock-in” period. This is one of the major challenges of cloud computing as most businesses prefer having the option to migrate in and out of the cloud and change service providers when they want to.

  1. Analyzing costs

Effectively analyzing and assessing the costs involved with the use of such solutions is perhaps one of the main challenges of cloud computing. The easy scalability offered by cloud computing solutions and its on-demand nature makes it all the more difficult to assess the costs involved in using a cloud computing solution. Extensive use of the service may exhaust the budget that you had allocated for several months. Therefore, it becomes quintessential for companies to avoid contracting and budgeting issues while procuring cloud computing solutions.

To know more about the challenges of cloud computing and strategies to mitigate them:


vegan food trends

Top 7 Vegan Food Trends That Are Going Mainstream

The past decade has witnessed a rise in the ‘veganism’ fad among people. Consequently, there has been an explosion of new vegan food trends, ingredients and innovative recipes in the market. Today, vegan food has moved away from being tagged as ‘boring’ to more delicious options.  One trip to the market or a retail store is enough to understand the progress that plant-based eating has made, as last year’s vegan food trends have become grocery-store staples now. As consumers are becoming more mindful of the products they put in their bodies and of the environmental impact they have, manufacturers have started becoming more conscious while catering to these needs. For instance, big brand names like Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Häagen-Dazs, and Halo Top have introduced vegan flavors recently. Here are our top picks of the vegan food trends that mean good news for our plates and taste buds this year:Request Proposal

  • Meat alternatives

Cruelty-free meat alternatives is one of the vegan food trends that has been going mainstream in recent times. Recently, there has been a huge rise in innovative plant-based options, including lab-grown meat made from cultured animal cells. Last year, we witnessed an increase in the popularity of meatless burgers such as those from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. And now they’re becoming available at restaurants and grocery stores across the nation.

  • ‘Black food’ trend

Activated charcoal is one of the most innovative and healthy vegan food trends doing the rounds today. They are known for being able to draw toxins from the body and help with your well-being. Activated charcoal also lowers cholesterol and supports digestive health. Vegan food companies have introduced food trends like charcoal ice-cream and water that are becoming highly popular among the vegan population.

  • Full-fat everything

Fat is back in trend. Vegan food products that are high in fat content, such as avocados, coconut, nuts, and seeds instead of processed, are becoming favorites among people. These vegan food products ensure that consumers intake healthy fats, which are not harmful to their body.

  • Vegan desserts

Giving up on desserts and other tasty foods are one thing that gives people second thoughts about going vegan. But not anymore.  As more people realize that desserts can be awesome without animal products, they have begun to find substitutes for eggs and dairy in their sweet treats. This year, we are guaranteed to see a revolution in the field of vegan desserts. You can expect vegan donuts glazed with maple syrup, vanilla icing or filled with delicious jam, and many more.

  • Edible flowers

Edible flowers were used, in the past, only for pretentious dishes in Michelin-starred restaurants. But edible flowers have now become one of the most popular vegan food trends among food addicts. Vegan food companies have started to incorporate such flowers in dishes prepared in the comfort of their own home thanks to vegan foodies showcasing beautifully floral dishes on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. The most popular choices of flowers in vegan food include pansies, carnations, and nasturtiums.

To know more about the vegan food trends and challenges facing vegan food manufacturers

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Medical device companies

5 Challenges Faced by Medical Device Companies in 2018

Over the past couple of years, FDA-regulated industries such as the medical devices industry have witnessed a myriad of changes. The advent of value-based reimbursement models and accountable care has resulted in a seismic shift in the way top medical device companies operate. In the wake of this new era, focusing on data and the value of medical devices will notAsk An Analyst be enough to boost ROI. This has forced medical device companies to look for new avenues to boost revenues and profitability.  Today, buyers expect medical device companies to offer solutions that bundle device, data, and analytics for improved decision making. And with the shift towards value-based care, medical device companies must offer solutions that can deliver actionable insights for use in existing electronic medical record systems. Our analysis of the global market landscape shows that the medical device companies are facing challenges in terms of:

  1. Adapting to the shift towards value-based models
  2. Maintaining profit margins with products that elude commoditization

Meeting such challenges can be made simple if medical companies leverage an interoperability platform to devise solutions with excellent data integration and aggregation capabilities. Apart from the challenges mentioned above, here are some of the other challenges faced by top medical device companies.

  • Increasing standards and overheads

Recently, there has been a drastic increase in the number of medical devices that are being manufactured and sent for approvals to the FDA. Studies indicate that the time taken for processing has increased by more than 55% in a span of five years. This poses a major challenge for medical device companies who are looking to outperform their competitors by launching more innovative products in the market.

  • Complexity of new medical devices

To stay on top of the competition, top medical device companies have started manufacturing products that are more complex and integrated when compared to their predecessors. This increase in the complexity results in a rise in the cost of field service and repair processes. Another point to note here is the fact that due to the increasing complexity of devices, the cost of training field service specialists and engineers has doubled.Ask An Analyst

  • Meeting customers’ expectations

Today, people all around the globe have access to the Internet and smartphones. Customers, therefore, have numerous choices and demand more from medical device companies, especially in terms of implementing more aggressive SLAs. The end-users of medical devices are also demanding more from their reduced capital and are now asking for better incentives.

  • Shift towards home-based care

With the growing popularity of home health care services and POC tests, medical device companies have had to migrate towards the production of home-based health kits. This threatens to reduce the spend on capital programs for developing new lab equipment.

  • Reimbursement reductions and rising competition

The implementation of new schemes to reduce reimbursements for medical assays by insurers is reducing manufacturers’ ability to fund capital for their new devices. In addition, high competition from emerging companies, such as start-ups, will reduce the profit margins of top medical device companies and erode customer loyalty.

To know more about the major challenges faced by top medical device companies:

digital trends

5 Digital Trends to Keep Track of in the Mining Industry

The past decade has been nothing less than a roller coaster ride for companies operating in the mining industry. Commodity prices have witnessed both historic highs and lows, and operational realities have shifted irrevocably in the face of the digital revolution. This year too, the mining industry is expected to witness an array of changes. Within the mining and metals industry, digitalization will be a force that changes the nature of companies and their interaction with employees, communities, government and the environment at every step of the value chain. Mining industry companies that embrace digital trends, can expect a more nimble and profitable business, with improved decision-making and increased employee empowerment. Furthermore, when designed and implemented in the right manner, digitalization can improve safety, health, and environmental impact. Thereby, reducing injuries, saving lives, lowering emissions and wastage, and increasing transparency and sustainability of the company. Here are some of the top digital trends that are shaping the future of the mining industry:Request Proposal

  • Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is one of the most popular digital trends in the mining industry. It is expected to be the next big step in the mining industry’s digital transformation. Artificial intelligence is mainly concerned with smart computers that can undertake processes and react like human beings. It can help mining companies gain greater metallurgical precision by identifying promising drilling targets. Predictive modeling of ore-bodies and blast hole drill data can lead to more precise drilling targets, optimal blast, drill patterns, and improved ore fragmentation.

digital trends

fintech companies

Challenges That Fintech Companies Need to Be Prepared For

The growing importance of innovations coupled with the extensive use of technologies has changed the face of banking worldwide. Financial technologies (Fintech) have become an integral part of banking, and nowadays banks have started to compete beyond financial services due to the increasing competition from nonfinancial institutions. The Fintech industry has grown massively over the past couple of years. Fintech companies pose a strategic threat by potentially disrupting the financial sectors and services, particularly in areas such as lending, payments, wealth management, and property and casualty products. Fintech companies have quickly moved on from their initially modest offerings in back-office operations into areas such as trading, investment, retail banking, thus emerging as direct competitors in the industry. Though the fintech revolution has been in full swing for the last few years, there are a number of complex challenges that fRequest Proposalintech companies are yet to resolve:

  • Regulatory constraints

The fintech industry is quite different from the traditional banking setup. Fintech companies are often unaware of which regulators and governing bodies they have to adhere to. This means that these companies often aren’t even aware of the regulations that they must comply with. This problem can result in delays in getting license on-time. Also, the possibility of getting charged with hefty fines are also high. To add on to this problem, since the financial crisis of 2008, governing bodies have created much more stringent regulations that the financial industry must follow.

  • Difficulty in attracting investors

Fintech companies were highly successful in raising funds until 2016. However, from the second quarter of 2016, this trend showed a major dip. One of the main reasons for this was banks and other financial institutions starting their own fintech operations and reducing the dependence on fintech companies. Traditional banks may have been seeing companies in the fintech industry as rivals. However, banks and other financial institutions aren’t aware of the advantages that the fintech companies can provide for them.

  • Limited understanding

Since the fintech companies do not follow those crystal-clear guidelines that were previously mentioned, there’s obviously a lot of misunderstanding in the exact procedures which must be followed in the fintech industry. Furthermore, the general public has their skepticism about relying on fintech companies rather than traditional banks. The fintech revolution has the potential to disrupt the financial industry, but until more people become educated about fintech, some of the misconceptions will restrict companies in the fintech industry from realizing their full potential.

  • Security challenges

The financial sector deals with sensitive information about various individuals and enterprises. With the emergence of fintech, a plethora of data has become available in digital formats, which makes it easier to analyze and generate insights, but at the same time also makes the data more susceptible to security breaches. This is one of the main factors fueling skeptics to rely on fintech companies.


To know more about the opportunities and trends in the fintech industry

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dairy industry

6 Trends That Will Keep the Dairy Industry Moo-ving in 2018

Consumer inclination towards a healthy lifestyle has turned tables for the dairy industry. This overnight stardom has also prompted players in the dairy foods market to innovate heavily in their offerings. Moreover, understanding consumers’ attitudes and values can help companies to develop the right dairy products and then market them in ways that strike a chord with the target consumers. Although the dairy industry is likely to face flak from vegans and others who seek to cut down on dairy consumption, current market trends clearly depict that there no looking back for the dairy industry. Here are some trends in the dairy foods market that will make it big this year:Request Proposal

Environment-friendly nutrition

One of the main areas of focus today for companies in the dairy industry is to provide sustainable nutrition to people, which is healthy food produced in an environment-friendly manner. This is done as a powerful guiding principle to gain a better understanding and act on the connections between agriculture, food, nutrition, health, and environment. This practice is essential in accelerating progress towards a sustainable food system.

Clean label products

Clean labels have become the ‘new supreme’ for dairy products. Clean label products are those that do not contain any additives, artificial preservatives, or chemicals. This trend has become so popular in the dairy industry that it has now turned from a ‘fad’ to a ‘necessity’. The big fishes in the dairy foods market have already made clean labels a way of life. This year, several other players in the market are expected to follow suit. It will help companies in the dairy industry to increase consumer trust and mitigate brand risk.

visual merchandising

Why Visual Merchandising is More Important than You Think

A myriad of brands are fighting with one another to gain customers’ attention. What is one of the crucial elements for deciding their success or failure at this attempt? Visual Merchandising (VM) could be the answer. Undeniably, impeccable visual merchandising is a great way for retail stores to increase their footfall and gain a competitive advantage.  Stimulating the consumers is no longer a matter of just displaying the goods but focusing on the quality and aesthetics of the displays has become imperative for brands and stores alike. Visual merchandising is a retail strategy that is important in enhancing aesthetics of a product with the intent to increase customer attention and maximize sales. Still not convinced on why VM should be a part and parcel of retail stores?Request Proposal

 Here’s why visual merchandising is important, and you should not ignore it:

Positive shopping experience

Let’s face it, the more effort you put into your display, the more are your chances of getting customers’ attention. By displaying and promoting the products in a manner that encourages higher sales, retail stores will create a more enjoyable shopping experience for the customers. Shoppers tend to appreciate the attention to detail that goes into window displays and other visual merchandising materials because it’s the small things such as this that will make a store stand out from the rest.

Easier to locate products

Put yourselves in the shoes of the customer and think of the frustration you would go through if you have to spend 5-10 minutes just searching different aisles in retail stores to locate a product? visual merchandising is the solution to combat this problem. When a product is properly displayed, it will catch shoppers’ attention, guiding them towards it. For instance, displaying a new arrival in clothing on a mannequin will make it easier for customers to locate the product.

Helps introduce new products

In case of a new product launch, there is nothing that works better for retail stores than visual merchandising. It is obvious that customers will be discouraged to buy your product if they do not understand its utility or how it functions. Though some may purchase it merely out of curiosity, the majority will choose to pass. Visual merchandising can help retail stores explain new products to shoppers.

Enhanced brand identity

Brand identity in simple terms refers to something that the customers identify the brand with. The right type of visual merchandising can help build an identity around your brand. For instance, when Victoria’s Secret developed their new brand PINK, they stepped away from the more mature and provocative nature of visual merchandising and went with a more playful vibe. This has helped them build a brand identity that appeals to their target audiences of young adults and teenagers.

To know more about VM best practices and tips

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smart city

Top Trends That Will Make Smart Cities ‘smarter’

smart cityTechnology has always been a critical force deeply intertwined with the evolution of cities. From the first human settlements millennia ago to the industrial revolution to today, technological breakthroughs have impacted the buildings we use, the way we get around, and how we live, work, and play in the urban space. The concept of a smart city has been around for a while now. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem of connected devices will further fuel the rise of smart city projects around the world. Furthermore, the current developments in IoT trends will prove to be revolutionary for smart city projects. In fact, we can expect the shipment of smart home devices such as safety and security systems, cameras, sensors, smart appliances like coffee makers, washiRequest Proposalng machines, dryers or any energy equipment, to increase two-fold by the year 2020. Here are our top picks of IoT trends that will change the face of smart city initiatives in the future:

Smart street lights

Energy efficiency is a major concern around the world today. Taking a cue from this, smart city projects are increasingly focusing on new ways to reduce energy consumption.   Smart street lighting networks are one of the IoT trends that can serve as a cost-effective entry point to IoT-based city solutions. Smart street lights help cut down costs and are energy efficient because they can be programmed to dim or brighten automatically and cut the risk of crime and traffic accidents. Copenhagen is one of the key examples of a metropolis that has implemented smart street lighting as part of a broader commitment towards smart city solutions.

Electric vehicle infrastructure expansion

Electric vehicles are expected to become mainstream in another few years. One of the major barriers for EVs is the lack of a refueling infrastructure. Some people view electric vehicles as less practical compared to gas-powered vehicles when considering that EV owners might only be able to recharge their car on their own property, provided they have a dedicated outlet installed. However, authorities are looking at providing incentives for residents who own EVs, and some offer incentives to residents and businesses that install EV charging equipment. However, many of the incentive programs focus on charging infrastructure at residential properties and not throughout the greater community.

Fog computing

Fog computing is the combined practice of cloud computing and edge computing. Cloud computing uses remote servers to store, manage, and process data, and edge computing refers to the resources and systems controlled by the end-user. Since smart city projects deal with a large number of connected devices and a large volume of data, there is immense scope for this mechanism. This massive data increase will also prove to be of great economic value to smart city stakeholders.

Expanding the smart grid

The energy saved from efforts such as smart street lighting can be invested in other technologies in the smart city. Smart street lighting provides a grid-based physical infrastructure that can serve as a foundation for delivering a range of other sensor-reliant services, such as vehicle and pedestrian monitoring, traffic light control, smart parking, real-time traffic-information, and waste management.

To know more about how various IoT trends are revolutionizing smart city projects

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industrial automation trends

Disruptive Trends to Watch out for in Industrial Automation

With industrial automation gaining more limelight in recent times, man and machines have started working more closely than ever before. In retrospect, it is quite evident that technology has massively evolved; thereby, transforming the nature of industrial and manufacturing operations. Industries are no longer entirely dependent on a human workforce for simple or complex tasks. The capabilities and technologies of future manufacturing are increasingly coming into sharp focus. In an effort to drive down the unit price and maximize profit margins, industrial automation has gained prominence since it has historically helped reduce manufacturing costs, eliminate variability in product quality, and rapidly produce commodities in high volume. Furthermore, with industrial automation trends like digitalization and IoT, industrial automation has become a competitive advantage in today’s industrial landscape.

Here are five industrial automation trends that we predict will revolutionize the manufacturing landscape in the years to come:  Request Proposal

Industrial cybersecurity: A must-have

The rising rate of cyber-attacks has put cybersecurity on the forefront of concerns in industrial automation. Fortunately, advances in industrial automation trends and cybersecurity management are playing a crucial role in addressing the vital requirements of industrial automation applications, equipment, and plants as these relate to stringent constraints on network communications and system updates. Today’s advanced cybersecurity solutions include both behavior-based anomaly detection that helps to identify would-be cyber threats using conventional cybersecurity approaches and rule-based analysis that allows manufacturers to leverage deep inspection to uncover malware cyberattacks on the network.

Digital twins and IIoT

The concept of ‘digital twins’ is concerned with the creation of a virtual copy of a machine or system. This is now becoming a prerequisite in the product development landscape and is one of the popular industrial automation trends this year. As IIoT grows, manufacturers will have to spend a lot of time testing new systems on the floor. While connected networks help, creating digital twins of the products/services and testing them thoroughly in a virtual environment before going live can also help manufacturers avoid downtime problems and save them from committing actual resources. Additionally, these industrial automation trends will help them in fixing issues on the factory floor before going live and allow for continuous design and manufacturing improvements.

Improved accuracy with machine learning 

AI and machine learning capabilities have, at present, become the most popular industrial automation trends. These technologies have already penetrated the customer relationship management segments and are a cornerstone of Industry 4.0, Big Data, and IoT. Manufacturing units can leverage data analytics and machine learning for their process improvements. These systems help in predicting yield rates at various supply chain levels; thereby, reducing the cost of raw materials and ensuring brand quality. Furthermore, AI provides real-time operational intelligence that supports product lifecycle management, which includes process integration, automation and collaboration insights, monitoring, and diagnostics.  

AR and VR

Simulator-based training is an effective way of training factory staff. IIoT-enabled technologies such as gaming, augmented/virtual reality, 3D immersive and wearable devices can improve learning and help develop skills by replicating real-life plant scenarios. This technology can help manufacturers understand how employees will react to worst-case scenarios and plan emergency procedures. 

To know more about the industrial automation trends and the opportunities and challenges in industrial automation

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