How to Create Hand Drawn Text in Adobe After Effects

first_imgIn this After Effects video tutorial you’ll learn how to create a stop motion pen animation in After Effects!Breathe life into your text with a stop motion write-on animation in After Effects. Hand drawn text is fun and playful, making it appropriate for wide variety of subject matter and video projects.In the following tutorial you’ll discover that it’s quite easy to create an organic hand drawn effect in AE. Using only the tools that are within After Effects (no third party plugins required), you can create the hand drawn effect using simple expressions and the AE pen tool.Pick up lots of little tricks here to make the hand drawn effect appear more organic. For instance, AE expressions are added to the background paper layer to pull of the stop motion effect.Check out the full hand drawn text in After Effects tutorial (best viewed full screen) or read the full video transcript below: [color-box color=”gray”]In this After Effects tutorial we will be faking stop motion animation using a fake ballpoint pen. I’m Evan Abrams from premiumbeat.com. You don’t even need multiple pieces of paper or a real ballpoint pen. So, let’s open up After Effects and start faking stop motion animation. Inside After Effects, the first thing we’re going to do is create a new composition, and we’re going to go with the HDTV 1080 24 frames a second preset, duration 30 seconds. Now, we’ll also need a paper background, so, go ahead and import one of those and we’ll drag that out to be on the composition.It’s best if you use paper textures that are larger than the frame of the composition. In this case, this one is “3,000 by 4,000,” which goes well beyond the bounds of the frame. And we’re just going to apply a “curves” to it and push the curves up to lighten it and we’ll apply as well a tint because we’re not interested in any of the color information. And, because we’re going to be faking a stop motion type effect, we’re going to change it’s position and rotation to have expressions on them. Those expressions are going to be wiggle and then 10 times a second and, in the case of the position, it’s going to wiggle 8 pixels and, in the case of the rotation, it’s going to wiggle 0.25 degrees.So, you can see every frame it’s slightly different and you might want to amplify this effect to be more significant if you want it to appear like it’s much more different pieces of paper every time. So, there we go, and that is the paper taken care of, so, lock that layer so we don’t disturb it and now we’re going to create the lines of the ballpoint pen that are drawing onto the paper. So, we do that by creating a text layer and typing out a guide, in this case, simply using the word guide, and then scale it up to be the size you need and use the align panel to align it to where you’d like or position it by hand. Now, if you’d like, you can go layer, create shapes from text and it’ll create outlines around the outside of the shape, but what I’d like to is to use the pen tool to create a more hand-drawn look by just clicking and drawing a path.So, make sure you have nothing selected, and then just click and draw and it will create a new shape layer for you as you draw. I’m just using the Bebas Neue font as a guide in order to draw down this new shape. So, it’s created a shape layer and it’s put a shape inside it with a path. I’m going to change it’s stroke color to be a white, a pure white, and the stroke size is good at 10. So, keep that layer selected, go back to the pen tool and then draw out the rest of the shapes, keeping in mind that you want to draw them similar to how a hand would draw them with different curves and slight differences in how they start and stop, kind of flowing them into each other, perhaps putting things like little curves in the corners and overlap when they end.So, now we have our lines and however you’ve generated that shape layer is not necessarily important. You don’t need to look at the guide anymore, so that can go away. And now we will change the stroke to be something we can see on the paper, so a nice, dark color, even pure black will work for this. And what we’re going to do is we are going to animate on this text using the trim paths, so just add trim paths, it’ll add trim paths to each of the shapes, and we’ll change it from simultaneously to individually and set the ends to be 0, put a key frame there, move ahead to approximately 3 seconds, and set a key frame as 100% complete.So, as you can see, the layers are drawing on and they draw on in the order from top to bottom, so you may have to change the order to make sure that they’re going in the order you expected. And when you watch them play back, everything looks pretty good and normal. Now, styling this is very important. Now, all of the styling comes down to the effects that you applied to it. So, we’re going to use a roughen edges, and a roughen edges, as you can see, is just going to change the consistency of the line, and we’re going to change the scale here down to 20, so it’s a lot rougher. And that roughness is meant to simulate the ink bleeding into the paper.And then we are also going to be changing it’s evolution here. In the evolutions options, hold down ALT, click on random seed and then type in wiggle 10 comma 8 so that it’s constantly changing on every frame what it looks like. And the next thing to do is to add to it a wiggle paths, again back into the shape stack where you can add things. And the wiggle paths causes the path itself to change, so, not only are we change the thickness to be variable, we’re changing the line itself to be variable. Now, we’re just going to change the size to be down to 2 and the detail is probably good at 8, and instead of corner we would like it to be smooth.That’s good. Now, we can have it’s wiggles per second go at about 25, or 10, or something very similar to the variation we have elsewhere. So that’s causing variation in the line. Now, we’re also going to add to this a turbulent displace, which causes larger displacements. So we’re going to change its amount to be 1, its size to be 350, and we are going to change its evolution options to, again, change that random seed to be wiggling 10 times a second, 8 units. And you can see that it’s bulging and changing with that addition. Now, the next thing we want to do is change its position and rotation to also have wiggles on them. So, hold down ALT and click on the stopwatch for those and we’re going to set them to wiggle 10times a second. And, in terms of the position, we’re only going to change that by 2 pixels and we are going to copy and paste that to the rotation and, instead of 2 degrees, it’s going to be 3.25 degrees.So, it’s moving and changing a little bit on every frame. Now, to make this really look like pen, it has to kind of sink in and blur it more to the paper. So, we’re going to take this shape layer and we’re going to precompose it, you can do that by going layer, selecting pre-compose, or Control Shift C or Command Shift C, and we’re going to name this “pen strokes” and we’re going to duplicate this twice. On the topmost layer we’re going to leave it as-is, but we’re going to layer, layer styles and we’re going to add a bevel and emboss to it. And what this will do is create that shiny, indented look by changing it from up to down, and change it’s size by down to 3. You can see here, at the bottom, it’s getting kind of a glossy indent.And then to the layer below it we would like to apply fast blur to it, setting its blurriness to something like 5 pixels, and then copy that fast blur and apply it to the pen stroke below it and we’ll set that up to 10. Just zoom in here and have a look at how deep your pen gouge is into the paper and maybe just change it to be not as deep. Maybe 25% deep could be good so it really looks like something as been pressed in there but not somuch that it looks comical. Now, last thing to do is take all of those, change them set to be multiply except for the top layer, which can remain as normal, and we’re going to change their opacities to be down at 60 because it doesn’t need to be totally, fully bright. You might want to goin and adjust that the alpha of these to be slightly more blob-like. So, you can do that by applying a fast blur, setting the blurriness to 2, and then applying a curves to that layer and affect it’s alpha to be more contrasting. And then, when you go back, you can see it become a little bit more blob-like in how the ink is behaving. So, we you play that back, we have this nice, stop motion movement of everything and it looks plausibly like stop motion pen.So, the last thing to do is put on a new solid, set it to be black, make it the composition size, and we’ll just apply a vignette using an ellipse path that is set to subtract, then alter it to have a feather of 960 and an expansion of, roughly, 450 and you are all done. This has been Evan Abrams for premiumbeat.com, your source for royalty-free music and sound effects. Stop by the blog to see more tips and tricks in After Effects and other applications and I’ll see you next time for more tutorials. I’m Evan Abrams and thanks for watching.[/color-box]last_img read more

BJP, Congress finalise list of star campaigners for Tripura

first_imgThe Bhratiya Janata Party and the Congress have finalised their lists of star campaigners to woo voters in the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Tripura. The lists include top leaders of the parties and celebrities who will throw their weight behind the candidates during campaigning.BJP president Amit Shah is scheduled to arrive in the State tomorrow (Thursday) to campaign for his party candidates. He is expected to host a road show in Agartala.“We are finalising the programme for the road show which will be joined by party supporters,” said a local BJP leader.Preparations are also in full swing for the election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 6 at Udaipur, headquarters of Gomati district in south Tripura. Mr. Modi might tag a few other northeastern States during the visit.The Congress announced a list of 18 star campaigners for Tripura. The list includes names like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Sachin Pilot, Navjot Singh Siddhu, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Mukul Sangma and cinestar-turned-politician Nagma.Congress president Rahul Gandhi had already held a public rally at Khumulwng, near Agartala, on March 18. The schedule for the visit of star campaigners will be announced soon, PCC general secretary Baptu Chakraborty said on Wednesday. Tripura will have two-phased Lok Sabha election. The West Tripura constituency will go to the poll on April 11 and East Tripura (ST) constituency on April 18.Both the constituencies are witnessing multi-cornered contest. All major parties are in the fray.last_img read more

Midas Displays introduce range of HDMI TFT displays

first_img Continue Reading Previous AI experts address key questions about AI fairnessNext Cervoz: ultra-thin NVMe storage for industrial embedded application Display manufacturer and supplier, Midas Displays, has announced the introduction of a range of plug and play HDMI TFT display modules. The new displays are available in three different size and resolution options, have excellent brightness and contrast performance, and feature a fully integrated interface PCB.With the addition of a Raspberry Pi SBC, the Midas Displays HDMI TFT display module becomes a fully functional, easy-to-use LCD monitor. The integrated interface PCB has a 40-pin GPIO interface and a standard 19-pin type-A HDMI interface connector, enabling direct connection of a Raspberry Pi SBC. The HDMI TFT modules can also easily be used with many other single board computers. These key features enable the HDMI TFT displays to be used with any external HDMI input source.Midas Displays also supports interconnect solutions to enable enhanced connectivity of the Raspberry Pi to the HDMI TFT display module. A bespoke HDMI to HDMI interconnect board connects the HDMI output of the Raspberry Pi to the display mounted interface PCB, and a Type-A USB to Micro-B USB cable enables touch-screen functionality to be implemented.  All three display modules feature excellent optical performance which ensure bright, clear and concise images, high brightness white LED backlights, and a 16:9 Landscape aspect ratio. The operating temperature range of -20 to +70°C enables reliable operation in extreme temperature environments.For applications that require a dedicated graphical user interface, capacitive and resistive touch-screen options are available for all modules. The new Midas Displays 5.0″, 7.0″ and 10.1″ HDMI TFT modules have outstanding optical performance and compact mechanical dimensions, enabling these displays to be used in a wide range of industrial equipment and embedded applications.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Chips & Components last_img read more

Verizon CEO says his carrier delivers real 5G not hype

first_img0:57 Mobile Verizon 5G speed test vs. 4G Tags Samsung, LG, Motorola: How soon can we expect 5G phones? Share your voice 0 Now playing: Watch this:center_img Some on Wall Street speculate that Verizon, by comparison, may be spectrum-constrained, given that much of its lower-frequency and midband spectrum is already being used for 3G and 4G LTE service.  Vestberg tried to allay these concerns, stating he’s confident that Verizon has what it needs to compete in 5G.”We are not disadvantaged,” he said. Vestberg emphasized that 5G is still in its early days, noting that the standards for the next-generation networks haven’t been finalized yet and that there are only a few phones on the market that can even tap into 5G. He added that it’s more important for Verizon’s customers to feel a real difference in performance when they access the 5G network rather than rebranding a service as 5G with only incremental benefits in terms of speed. 5G is not only about 100 times faster than 4G, but it also allows the new networks to be more responsive, ushering in new applications in areas such as VR, AR and self-driving cars.  He conceded that, in the long term, the company will repurpose its existing low-band and midband spectrum serving its 3G and 4G LTE networks to 5G. But he said, right now the company’s coverage map is well-positioned relative to the size of today’s 5G market and given the number of 5G-capable phones available.   “I inherited fantastic DNA in this company,” he said. “First, we do things, and then we start marketing it.” He added, “There will be a lot of messaging in the market, but I’m confident we will execute on real 5G and give the right sort of performance to our customers in the right moment.”In an interview Thursday with CNBC, Vestberg said he expects Verizon’s 5G service to cover 50% of the US population next year. But he noted that it won’t be until 2024 that at least half the US population will actually own a 5G phone. Also on Thursday, Verizon announced that it added more wireless customers than analysts expected in the second quarter of 2019. The largest US wireless carrier added a total of 245,000 phone subscribers during the second quarter of 2019. Analysts had expected it to add about 163,000 new phone customers, Reuters reported. Verizon plans to have 5G service in more than 30 cities by the end of the year, including Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Houston, Kansas City, Little Rock, Memphis, Phoenix, San Diego, and Salt Lake City.”Verizon made history this quarter by becoming the first carrier in the world to launch 5G mobility,” Vestberg said in a statement. “We are focused on optimizing our next-generation networks and enhancing the customer experience while we head into the second half of the year with great momentum.”Originally published at 4:53 a.m. PT.Updated at 8:08 a.m. PT: Added information from Verizon’s quarterly conference call.  13 Photos 5G Verizon Ray’s criticism of the Verizon network is based on Verizon focusing its early deployments on very high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum, or mmWave. This spectrum can transmit vast amounts of data, but the range of the signal is very short, requiring a lot more small cell towers to be deployed to cover a given area. Over a year ago, Ray called Verizon’s plan to use mmWave “unrealistic” because it would be way too expensive for the company to blanket the US with 5G using this spectrum.Ray reiterated the point in a tweet Wednesday evening: “What is Verizon’s ‘secret’ 5G plan to expand 5G coverage beyond the limits of mmWave?!” He added: “Verizon says they will have a ‘multi-spectrum strategy.’ So they don’t have one now… when will they have one? Tomorrow?!” By contrast, T-Mobile plans to use a wide variety of spectrum in its 5G deployment, including low-band 600MHz spectrum as well as midband spectrum it plans to acquire from Sprint. The Justice Department gave some momentum to that plan last week in its thumbs-up for the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. (That deal would also divest assets to satellite TV provider Dish in the hope it could replace Sprint as a fourth national wireless provider.) AT&T has a similar strategy that includes using a mix of spectrum for 5G. Both AT&T and T-Mobile say they will cover the US with 5G by the end of next year. The benefit of the combination spectrum strategy is that it will allow for a lot more coverage, but the lower-frequency spectrum also means slower speeds. Verizon beats expectations for new subscriptions. James Martin/CNET Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg threw a few punches of his own Thursday in the 5G marketing wars. Responding to jabs from T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, Vestberg told investors on the company’s quarterly conference call that his company will have “real 5G” that gives “the right sort of performance” that customers expect from Verizon in the “right moment.” The comments come a day after Ray, in a tweet, expressed skepticism about Verizon’s plans to add more cities to its 5G network. Ray said he wanted to see the coverage map in those cities, implying that the airwaves Verizon is using in its 5G deployment won’t offer the kind of coverage that T-Mobile says it plans to offer itself. Verizon announced Wednesday that it’s added Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, DC to its list of cities with 5G. The company already offered 5G in parts of Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Providence.T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T also have 5G service available in some parts of the US.  Post a commentlast_img read more

Can NBFCs fill the void as banks appetite to lend deteriorates after

first_imgNon-banking finance companies (NBFCs) – which are often considered as the shadow banking sector – are on their way to setting a record of a robust growth of 19–22 percent CAGR in retail credit to reach an AUM (assets under management) of approximately Rs 6.04 lakh crore by March 2017, up from Rs 5.01 lakh crore by March 2016. RBI forced banks to grant loan to Kingfisher Airlines violating its own rulesApart from better knowledge of the market they are operating in, the success of NBFCs in India can be attributed to their product lines, lower costs and strong risk management capabilities to check and control bad debts. Not only in traditional passenger and commercial vehicle finance, NBFCs have also successfully managed to build substantial AUM in the personal loan and housing finance segments, which so far have been the bread and butter for retail banks.  PwC-AssochamIn a few states where traditional banking has very less penetration in rural areas, NBFCs have been playing a very important role from the macroeconomic perspective and are emerging as better alternatives to the conventional banks for meeting the financial needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Moreover, with the ongoing stress in the public sector banks due to mounting bad debt, it is expected that their appetite to lend (especially in rural areas) is only going to deteriorate. And it remains to be seen if NBFCs can tap that opportunity to increase their presence.Additionally, the latent credit demand of an emerging India will allow NBFCs to fill the gap. Improving macroeconomic conditions, higher credit penetration, increased consumption and disruptive digital trends will allow NBFCs’ credit to grow at a healthy rate of 7–10 percent (real growth rate) over the next five years, according to a study by PwC and Assocham.  PwC-Assocham However, to survive and grow constantly, NBFCs need to be very dynamic and constantly endeavour to search for new products and services in order to operate in this ever-competitive financial market. At the same time, NBFCs seem to be working under certain regulatory constraints that put them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis banks. The Reserve Bank of India, despite its spate of reforms in the NBFC regulations, must ensure that NBFCs have a level-playing field against banks to fully realise their potential.  PwC-AssochamTypes of NBFCs in India: Asset Finance Company (AFC), Investment Company (IC), Loan Company (LC), Infrastructure Finance Company (IFC), Infrastructure Debt Fund: Non-Banking Financial Company (IDF-NBFC), Gold Loan NBFCs and Residuary Non-Banking Companies (RNBCs).Meanwhile, the RBI said on Monday that 10 NBFCs, including Supreme Securities and Island Leasing, have surrendered their registration certificate. The central bank also said it cancelled the certificate of registration of nine other NBFCs.last_img read more

Trump quashes Pacific trade pact

first_imgUS President Donald Trump holds up an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership after signing it in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFPPresident Donald Trump yanked the United States out of a major Pacific trade deal Monday, making good on an election campaign promise and delivering a hammer blow to Asian allies.Trump said he had “terminated” the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade deal binding the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Vietnam and seven other allies against growing Chinese economic clout.Together, TPP members represent 40 percent of the world economy.After signing an executive order, Trump said he would be “going back to those countries one-on-one” to find terms more favorable to the United States.“We are going to have trade but we are going to have one-on-one,” he said.“And if somebody misbehaves, we are going to send a letter of termination — 30 days and they’ll either straighten it out or we are gone.”Trump came to office promising to gut existing trade pacts and reclaim manufacturing jobs lost overseas.Trump has also vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.Economists warn those jobs are never coming back and point to automation, not trade, as the main reason.But Trump has sought to tap populist anger and argued for much more transactional trade deals, regardless of the impact on international norms and standards.‘Serious mistake’?According to a Peterson Institute analysis, the United States stood to be the biggest beneficiary from TPP, with an annual increase in exports of $357 billion.The Institute also projected that the pact would be broadly neutral for employment levels.President Barack Obama’s administration had also touted the deal as a strategic counterweight to China.Trump’s Republican ally John McCain described the new president’s decision as a “serious mistake that will have lasting consequences for America’s economy and our strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region.”“It will create an opening for China to rewrite the economic rules of the road at the expense of American workers. And it will send a troubling signal of American disengagement in the Asia-Pacific region at a time we can least afford it.”It remains far from clear whether countries that have spent years negotiating the TPP would be willing to enter new talks.“The US already has trade deals with six of the 11 TPP partner countries so that leaves a handful of countries for potential new deals, most notably Japan,” said Cathleen Cimino-Isaacs of the Peterson Institute.“The emphasis on bilaterals is based on the perception that the US gave up too much in the TPP and will get better concessions from other trading partners in bilateral deals,” she said.“But it’s not clear that would be the case. The US actually gave few new concessions in the TPP in big areas like services and government procurement,” Cimino-Isaacs added.“At the same time, it was able to get greater concessions from countries like Japan in exchange for helping secure market access and agreement on high standards in other TPP markets.”Tax cutsLater Monday, Trump met with Congressional leaders and had private talks with the speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan.Tax reform is likely to be high on the agenda.“What we’re doing is we are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies,” Trump said Monday.To pay for those cuts, Trump has promised a “border tax,” which is likely to come in the form of increased tariffs on exports.That move is likely to face a challenge at the World Trade Organization and from big-box retailers.Trump also vowed Monday to cut regulation “massively” by up to 75 percent. It remains unclear how this would be done or quantified.Rocky startTrump signed two other executive orders Monday—freezing the hiring of federal workers and hitting foreign NGOs that help with abortion.The Republican leader is looking to shift attention firmly back onto his policy agenda after a first few days that put his incoming administration on the back foot.Since he was sworn in on Friday, Trump’s White House has been pilloried for lying to the public about inaugural crowds and over a campaign-style speech by the president before a memorial to fallen CIA officers.On Saturday, several million Americans poured onto the streets for women-led demonstrations against Trump, the scale of which were unseen in a generation, in a potent rebuke to the president.Trump has upbraided top aides over unfavorable media coverage on everything from crowd sizes to suggestions he has ruled out releasing his taxes. He is the first presidential candidate in recent memory not to do so.last_img read more

Uber and Flipboard Help VC Deal Activity Hit 72 Billion Last Quarter

first_imgOctober 10, 2013 Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 2 min readcenter_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global While some sectors didn’t feel the VC love this past quarter, the startup community as a whole did.Venture capital activity for the third quarter of 2013 hit its highest peak in more than 12 years with 857 deals completed and $7.2 billion in funding, according to a report by CB Insights, an investment database company.A major success was in mobile, an industry that had a record-breaking quarter with $1.1 billion poured into it. This milestone was the first time mobile has ever crossed the $1 billion mark. This achievement is in part thanks to transportation startup Uber’s massive round of financing in August (a reported $361 million), satellite company Kymeta’s $50 million Series C round and mobile-first magazine Flipboard’s $50 million in funding. And while mobile-game startups like Candy Crush are garnering media attention as it prepares for its IPO, VCs were hesitant to fork over cash to this segment, with only two percent of funding in the mobile sector going to games.Related: Car-Service Company Uber Reportedly Valued at $3.5 BillionBesides the large amount of deals completed in the third quarter, VC-backed companies continued to see success this period with exits. There were 23 VC-backed companies that had an IPO (total valuation $11.8 billion) and 112 M&As, equating to 135 exits. The M&A figure was an increase from first and second quarter deals, which had 103 and 105 exits respectively. The IPO valuation represented the “highest aggregate value” of exits in the last five quarters.Related: Venture Capital Trends by State, Industry (Infographic)With all this good news, you would think it was all rosy in the world of startups. It’s not. While there has been a lot of hype about the healthcare industry, the third quarter saw deal activity and funding decline 27 percent and 36 percent respectively. Also, investors seem to be jumping the clean-tech ship. In the first quarter of 2010, funding for the sector hit $1.3 billion. This past quarter it only managed to snag $321 million across 33 deals.Keep in mind the report only took into account US companies backed by VC funds. Private equity or mutual funds were not included. last_img read more

Boost Productivity With These 4 Tips for a Paperless Workplace

first_img How Success Happens 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. As technology advances, so must the way we do business. In today’s digital world, that means making the move from tedious, paper-based systems to efficient, paperless solutions.Long gone are the days of paper correspondence, handbooks, manuals and checks. Whatever the paper-based system is, chances are it has a more economical, paperless cousin. Just ask Emma.BusinessWeek first called for the paperless workplace back in 1975, and it’s easy to understand why it never fully came about. In fact, the opposite happened. New technologies, such as email and the Internet, encouraged workers to print more, not less. That influx of printing is what truly sparked the idea of a paperless workforce.Related: 6 Questions to Ask About Your Printing Setup That Could Save MoneyWith today’s technological advances and ever-changing workplace, a paperless office is well within reach. Embracing a paperless workplace is about more than “going green” or cutting down on printing costs. Less paper means more productivity. Here are four ways to go paperless to boost a company’s overall productivity:1. Ditch the fax machine already.For most of us, the fax machine lived in the 1980s. However, every now and then the elusive fax number makes an untimely appearance in someone’s email signature. The first step to jumping on the paperless bandwagon is to get rid of outdated paper-based solutions — the fax machine being the first to go.As for the abundance of documents taking up office space, scan them and turn them into digital files that can be stored electronically. An office with less paper to keep track of is an office that breeds organized, productive employees.By making anything that enables paper usage — fax machines to filing cabinets to paper clips — less readily available, employees will turn to paperless alternatives. The sticky note may never die (long live the to-do list), but limiting other paper product usage is a start.2. Move business to the cloud.The cloud has redefined the way we do business. So much so, that nearly 40 percent of U.S. small businesses have fully adapted to cloud computing — a number that’s expected to double by 2020, according to a 2014 Intuit study.Moving business to the cloud not only gets rid of paper-based systems, it boosts both individual and overall productivity levels within an organization, by giving employees the ability to access work-related information from any device, anywhere, at any time. As the workplace becomes more flexible and begins to cater to a remote workforce, being able to access work materials from outside of the office isn’t just nice, it’s necessary.Related: Going Paperless Is Still in the Future at Many BusinessesCloud computing creates a more connected workforce. For starters, it eliminates the time-consuming process of sending files back and forth and up and down the corporate ladder, which creates a streamlined communication and approval process. For instance, with Google Drive, colleagues can collaborate without ever leaving their desks. Collaboration at its simplest.3. Automate time-consuming processes.Automating time-consuming processes is a great way to get rid of paper and increase productivity for managers and employees alike. Take the new hire onboarding process, for example. By moving to a paperless onboarding system, new hires can spend less time sifting through paperwork, handbooks and instruction manuals, and managers can easily assign, track and store new hire paperwork and tasks.Another equally paper-heavy process that can be automated is benefits administration and enrollment. This headache-inducing process is made easy by eliminating stacks of paperwork and benefits information in exchange for a clean, easy-to-use way to sign up for, learn about and manage benefits.4. Take advantage of time-saving apps.These days, there’s an app for everything. When it comes to enforcing a paperless workplace, mobile applications can help employers and their employees save paper, and time. From apps such as SignNow that enable people to sign electronic documents while on the go, to employee time tracking apps such as Toggl that eliminate paper timesheets, to organized to-do lists such as WorkFlowy, there’s an app designed for the job.By utilizing the latest apps for business, both employers and employees can spend less time searching for, organizing and filling out paperwork and more time on other, more crucial aspects of business.What do you think about going paperless? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!Related: Adobe’s Latest Product Lets You Turn a Photo of a Document Into a Fully Functional Digital File Listen Now June 30, 2015 Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible.last_img read more

Big Data Combined With Machine Learning Helps Businesses Make Much Smarter Decisions

first_img 7 min read Today, the importance of machine learning and big data to businesses cannot be overemphasized; both are revolutionizing business operations and consistently providing lots of new opportunities.Although machine learning dates back to the 1950’s, it’s presently more subject to practical, large-scale applications than it has ever been. Big data, on the other hand, became a thing in 2013, after it was discovered that 90 percent of the world’s data was produced in the previous two years.The spate of data generation, therefore, became a challenge as well as an opportunity. As an opportunity, big data enables businesses to not grope in the dark but make wise real-time decisions by providing them with insights into various market situations and ensuring a better understanding of consumers’ behaviors and preferences.It’s however noteworthy that big data by itself is of little value. To be useful, it has to be operated on by various analytical methods, many of which don’t go beyond providing mere statistical insights.Machine learning comes in handy as it goes further to unveil the hidden potentials of big data by producing and implementing solutions to complex business problems.Here are some four ways by which combining big data with machine learning has helped improve business intelligence, and some takeaways for business owners.Related: 5 Reasons Machine Learning Is the Future of Marketing1. Facilitating Customer SegmentationIt is not uncommon to find distinct groups — each comprising individuals who share a wide range of similarities – within a business’s customer base. In fact, discovering such groups is a crucial step every business should take.Fortunately, machine learning clustering algorithms are perfect for achieving this kind of a segmentation. Many such algorithms are unsupervised in that they don’t require special human direction to operate. Rather, an unsupervised clustering algorithm requires only data for exploration, so as to discover similarities and differences (where they exist), and come up with distinct clusters based on a number of features.In 2009, Orbitz created a machine learning team to facilitate segmentation, among other reasons. Three years later, it discovered a pattern from the data at its disposal: Mac users were willing to spend as much as 30 percent more per night for hotel rooms, when compared to Windows users. This discovery made it (Orbitz) swing into action in a way I’ll touch on, shortly, as it obviously helped to lay the grounds for segmenting the business’s customer base based on the relative propensity to pay for varying hotel types.Your business can also harness the power of machine learning and big data to achieve segmentation. But, first, you need to discover whether segmentation holds any potential benefit for your organization. If you believe it does, then it will become necessary to invest heavily in data analytics, make your business machine learning ready, and then employ a machine learning team. As you’ll soon see, machine learning will not only help to accurately and efficiently make sense of the data at your disposal, but also help to implement core business strategies.Related: Want to Be More Like Amazon? Start By Making Your Startup More Data-Driven.2. Making Targeting Feasible and Effective:Merely knowing that your customer base is composed of different groups doesn’t cut it -– you have to devise means to cater to divergent needs.Orbitz responded to the earlier stated discovery by targeting customers differently: costlier hotels were displayed to Apple users. It’s quite reasonable to suggest that this move was a wise one, for such a strategic targeting must have been highly profitable.On the other hand, it’s sometimes necessary to view one’s customer base as comprising different individuals with various preferences rather than a conglomeration of different groups. This perspective will make it more pragmatic to tailor products to each individual based on his or her specific behavior and perceived preferences. Again, machine learning, under the aegis of big data, facilitates this.Google, for example, uses big data to better understand your preferences and combines it with complex (machine learning) algorithms to provide supposedly relevant results for every query you make. This is why your past choices (for example, the sites you’ve visited) end up impacting on some of the results you’re shown.Machine learning and big data are also breaking grounds in targeted advertising. Pixar, for example, targets its audience with different movie advertisements which are based on learned preferences. Netflix also estimates that its algorithms produce $1 billion a year in value from customer retention, thanks to the “Netflix addiction” which is mostly spurred by accurate recommendations fostered by both user and item-based collaborative filtering.In other words, business owners need to understand that targeting consumers differently makes a lot of sense, and that machine learning makes personalization, which is key to providing a better user experience, possible. Say you run an ecommerce business, machine learning can help you personalize your ads so that people see only products that are most likely suited to their needs. This will definitely add an unobstrusive touch to your platform and may improve your bottom line by increasing sales and engendering customer retention. Again, the “Netflix addiction” speaks volumes about the potentials of machine learning-induced targeting.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business3. Fostering Predictive Analysis:After gaining insight into consumer behavior from big data, you’ll want to use machine learning to develop generalizations and thus make predictions regarding various business issues.In other words, machine learning models can learn behavior patterns from data and determine how likely it is for a person or a set of people to take certain actions, such as subscribing for a service. This makes it possible to anticipate events and make futuristic decisions.The American Express Company used big data to analyze and predict consumer behavior by learning from historical transactions. Through this, it was able to predict 24 percent of accounts in its Australian market that were about to close within four months. T-mobile also uses big data to predict consumer fluctuations.To make these kind of predictions, you must employ machine learning expertise to help grapple with your business’s data. Classification algorithms are usually used as the foundation for such predictions.Related: Artificial Intelligence Is Likely to Make a Career in Finance, Medicine or Law a Lot Less Lucrative4. Providing Foundations for Risk Analysis and Regulation:Big data enables machine learning models to extensively analyze and regulate risks.For fraud detection, American Express applies machine learning to analyze large historical datasets. In fact, the machine learning system is considered to differ from the previously existent fraud detection systems which included only manually created rules, and is better off because it’s likely to improve with more data inputs. It also saves the company millions of dollars, said Bernard Marr. Your business can also make use of machine learning to decrease financial irregularities. Many organizations are, in fact, developing systems to make the process easier. IBM, for example, provides financial institutions with a machine learning system on IBM z/OS in order to aid financial risk management. This system pays particular attention to credit scoring and is targeted at deducing credit worthiness which it uses to gauge risks.Employing machine learning models can go a long way in ensuring anti-money laundering compliance, detecting rouge trading and other trade anomalies, so it’s best to not starve your business of these elements of sanity.Related: A Humanoid Robot Called Sophia Mocked Elon Musk After Being Asked About the Dangers of AIMachine learning and big data are presently gaining the attention they deserve, and there’s no doubting that both depend on each other’s strength. More importantly, both have consistently made major impacts on how we undertake business operations. This article revealed some four ways by which a combination of machine learning and big data, if applied, can be a fillip to business intelligence. It’s therefore left to you to up your game as an entrepreneur. Enroll Now for Free Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now January 29, 2018 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience.last_img read more