CES 2017 – Top Trends: From Drones to AI

CES is one of the world’s largest trade shows and is the forum for many tech companies and startups to unveil their plans for the year. Its influence has waned over the years, given that many leading companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft hold their own events. But the CES show still draws a lot of attention.

The event starts Tuesday with two days of company announcements on new products and services. The show floor itself opens on Thursday.

Top trends expected to emerge at CES this year include an explosion of voice-controlled interfaces, subtle integration of artificial intelligence into everyday life and increasing digitisation in areas like health and wellness.

The 50th annual CES this week in Las Vegas is expected to draw 165,000 attendees. In the past, it has been a showcase for stunning new gadgets, but in recent years it has evolved into an event where more incremental steps forward are revealed.

Gadgets expected include TVs with new capabilities and better picture quality, as well as all sorts of household products with Internet connections, including refrigerators, doors and security cameras.

CES 2017 - Top Trends: From Drones to AI

Shawn Dubravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said in a panel Tuesday that voice control will be far more prevalent this year than it has been in the past. Voice-activated systems are expected to double to 10 million in 2017, he said.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is finding its way into more products, such as a refrigerator that can self-adjust its temperature for optimal humidity.

“The broader theme is how we’re increasingly allowing these small things to be automated,” he said. “It started with changing the temperature in the room, and now it’s changing the temperature in your refrigerator.”

Elsewhere, look for a surplus of new drones, personal robots and connected and self-driving cars on display, as well new wearable devices that give insight into specific health and wellness categories like preventing concussions or measuring vitamin D deficiency.

Neither the holiday season nor New Year’s fitness resolutions seem to be helping wearable gadgets break into the mainstream.

 

Research firm eMarketer has lowered its outlook for smartwatches and fitness trackers such as the Apple Watch and Fitbits. It’s not that the craze has died down – it’s more like there never was one to begin with.

The research comes as gadget makers large and small prepare to unveil new wearable devices at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week.

In October 2015, eMarketer expected wearable gadget to grow more than 60 percent among US adults in 2016. That’s now down to less than 25 percent. While fitness trackers are relatively cheap and straightforward to use, eMarketer says smartwatches haven’t caught on because they are expensive and lack a well-defined purpose.

(Also see: Xiaomi-Backed Yi Technology to Showcase New Action Camera, Drone at CES 2017)

But multinational corporations – no, really – could save the day. Gartner predicts that by 2019, nearly all big employers will encourage the use of fitness trackers to “improve corporate performance.” Big Brother, apparently, won’t just be watching, but tracking your steps.

Technology may soon change the way you shop in brick-and-mortar stores, not just online.

Last month, Amazon unveiled a test store that lets shoppers fill their bags and walk out without seeing a cashier or scanning any items.

Many other stores have been experimenting with digital enhancements aimed at luring shoppers back from online sites. Many of these technologies will be unveiled or demonstrated at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which begins Tuesday with media previews.

Robots, for instance, could help guide shoppers to the right aisle, while augmented reality apps could help you see how a particular shade of paint will look in the living room – or how you might look in a pair of jeans.

But plenty of retailers have learned through trial – and error – that technology can’t get too far ahead of shoppers. It has to be easy to use and beneficial to shoppers in some way.

GST clearance sales: Upto 60 per cent off on clothing, apparel and footwear from top brands

Mumbai, June 15: With the Goods and Services Tax (GST) roll out just two weeks away, several fashion and sports brands are holding clearance and end-of-season sales to sell out current stocks before the new tax regime kicks in. Some of the biggest clothes and footwear brands are offering steep discounts on various products and if you’re an avid shopper, you will want to take advantage of this particular opportunity to save money on premium buys that you won’t regret.

GST is the reason that retailers are hustling to clear stocks before July 1, and shoppers are sure to benefit from this sudden sale season. Some of the major retail chains, online and retail stores, as well as online shopping websites are offering as much as 40 to 50 per cent discount on some of the top clothing, apparel and footwear brands like Puma, Bata, Only, Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, etc. Top online shopping websites like Flipkart, Amazon and others are also holding end of season sales on fashion products, clothes and footwear.

GST

There are heavy discounts on fashion accessories like watches and jewelry, as well as hand bags, and electronics like smartphones, etc. Here are some of the end-of-season-sales that you might want to check out:

1. Puma is offering as much as Rs 6000 off on running shoes, sports shoes, limited edition shoes, and men’s and women’s jackets. You can check out the discounts and offers at the online store of the brand or head to your nearby retail store.

2. Sports retail brand Decathlon is also holding an end of season clearance sale on products ranging from hiking boots and shoes, socks, shirts and trousers, to sunglasses, sports watches, and other sports and camping gear. The discounts and offers of upto 50 per cent are available on there online store as well.

3. Flipkart has announced its biggest ever end-of-season sale that started on June 11 and will go on till June 19. The sale features some of the biggest fashion brands. The Flipkart Fashion Days sale has discounts and offers on not just clothes and footwear, but a range of other products.

4. Shop Clues is also holding its end of season sale with heavy discounts on brands like Liberty, Action in footwear, Globus, Libas, Soch, Folklore and Femella in clothing, and fashion accessories from Lavie and Baggit. Check the website for more information.

5. Jabong is also holding a clearance sale on men’s shirts, t-shirts, trousers, jeans and shorts, as well as women’s kurtis, shirts, tops, trousers and jeans, dresses and other clothing items. The sale features brands like Park Avenue, Wrangler, Levis, United Colors of Benetton, Arrow for men and Global Desi, Vero Moda, Only, Elle and other for women. The discounts are as high as 50 per cent.

6. Aditya Birla’s abof is also holding a clearance sale of clothing and footwear with discounts going up to 60 per cent.

Consumer Reports smartphone rankings puts the Galaxy S8+ at the top of the table – and the iPhone 7 plus can only manage FIFTH

In the battle of the smartphones, Samsung reigns supreme.

Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ is the best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8.

The report cited the devices’ ‘stunning camera, long battery life, and gorgeous display’ as what brought them to the top and beating its rival Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, which placed fifth.

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Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ (left) best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8 (right)

Consumer Reports has released its smartphone ratings analysis, which had found Galaxy S8+ (left) best handset on the market, followed shortly after by its smaller counterpart, the Galaxy S8 (right)

TOP 5 SMARTPHONES

1. Samsung Galaxy S8+

2. Samsung Galaxy S8

3. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

4.  LG G6

5. iPhone 7 Plus

The findings from Consumer Reports shows the Samsung Galaxy S8+ ranked as the top smartphone, closely followed by the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G6.

Samsung had released its long-awaited Galaxy S8 family a few months following its unforgettable Note 7 fiasco – hoping the smartphones would repair its tarnished name.

And it seems that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were in fact the South Korean firm’s saving grace, as the release from Consumer Reports deemed them ‘top dog’ in the industry.

‘If you want a stunning camera, long battery life, and gorgeous display in a water-resistant package, one of these could be the right phone for you,’ Jerry Beilinson withConsumer Reports shared.

‘You just have to be willing to spend the rent money on it: The S8+ starts at about $840, and the S8 at around $720.’

Although it may be hard for some users to believe Samsung was able to take the top spot, Beilinson has attributed the victory to the smartphone’s overhauled design.

The Galaxy S8 duo are without bezels on the side – the each have thin ones located at the top and bottom.

The Consumer Reports Lab had conducted an analysis on the batteries and found the Galaxy S8+ hit 26 hours, and the S8 (pictured) reached 23 hours of talk-time. The team also deemed the smartphones to have the best cameras

The Consumer Reports Lab had conducted an analysis on the batteries and found the Galaxy S8+ hit 26 hours, and the S8 (pictured) reached 23 hours of talk-time. The team also deemed the smartphones to have the best cameras

And although Samsung has been able to create a minimalist look, it is believed to still support a modern and elegant feel.

Another important addition was increasing the size of the screen, but keeping sticking with the same-size device as previous models.

The S8 and S8+ were also designed to be taller and narrower when held in portrait than previous variants – allowing for an easier hold when snapping a selfie.

While typical smartphones have an aspect ratio of 16:9, the new Samsung handsets have an aspect ratio of 18.5:9.

 

Top 5 Upcoming Smartphones With 8GB RAM by Samsung, Xiaomi and Others

Technology has been continually evolving and smartphones have come a long way from being used only for calling or checking e-mails. Chinese smartphone manufacturers like OnePlus, Vivo, and Oppo have upped the ante in the ever-growing Indian smartphone market in the past few years.

With the launch of OnePlus 3 in 2016 in India began the frenzy for phones with big RAMs – ZTE Nubia is the latest brand to launch a smartphone in China with a whopping 8GB RAM. Samsung has also joined the bandwagon by launching the flagship Galaxy S8+ with 6GB of RAM and 128 GB internal storage in India recently.

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We bring you a list of forthcoming smartphones with 8GB of RAM.

ZTE Nubia Z17 (launched in China)

ZTE Nubia Z17 with a whopping 8GB of RAM and the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset has been introduced in China last week. Nubia launched the new Z17 at an event in Beijing, China at a price of Yuan 3,999, which is roughly Rs 37,000.

In terms of looks, the Nubia Z17, sports a metal and glass design. It features a 5.5-inch full HD (1920×1080 pixels) LCD IPS display. The display is bezel-less from the sides.

The Nubia Z17 features a dual real camera, which has two lenses: 12MP and 23MP on the back, with 1.4um pixel size and f/1.8 aperture.

OnePlus 5

oneplus-5-design-revealed

The much-talked about OnePlus 5 is set to launch globally on June 20 and will be introduced in India on June 22. The smartphone has been spotted in benchmarks with 8GB and 6GB of RAM.

The company bust rumours about vertical dual cameras at the rear and stated there is a horizontal dual camera setup on the OnePlus 5. The Chinese smartphone maker has been focussing on the camera, which is evident from an official image released on Twitter.

Other rumoured specifications of the upcoming OnePlus 5 include a 5.5-inch display, a 23MP primary camera and a 16MP front snapper. It is expected to pack in a 4,000mAh battery.

Xiaomi Mi 7

mi-7

A Xiaomi Mi 7 concept shows that the smartphone would feature a 21MP primary camera and could have 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

Other rumoured specs of Mi 7 include a 5.7-inch ultra HD 4K IPS LCD display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 chipset. The device could have a 3500mAh battery as well.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

note-8

Galaxy S8 and S8+ gave some respite to South Korean tech major Samsung that suffered a major dent due to the Note 7 fiasco last year. The company’s next note – the Note 8 is rumoured to come with a whopping 8GB of RAM and 5.7 inch full HD super AMOLED display.

Read more: 5 Best Budget Android Smartphones From Xiaomi

Other rumoured specs of Note 8 include an Iris scanner and front-mounted fingerprint sensor.

The device could also feature a dual 13MP primary camera with dual-LED flash.

HTC 11

HTC-11

It has not being long that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC launched its flagship U11. The device will be unveiled in India on June 16 at an event.

Weibo carried a report that suggested that HTC 11 will feature a 5.5-inch Quad HD (QHD) screen with a resolution of 2560 × 1440 pixels. This means the next flagship from HTC will come with a bigger screen size than the 5.2-inch FHD panel used on the HTC 10.

The leak also suggests that HTC 11 could feature 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal memory as well.

The HTC 11 is speculated to come with an improved battery as well. The rumoured 3,700 mAh battery will be much bigger than the 3,000 mAh battery used in the HTC 10.

What Are Top Performing Customer Service Companies Doing?

How well does your company’s customer service measure up? Salesforce.com recently released a survey of nearly 2,000 global companies that are leaders in customer service. The study looked at common service benchmarks, service trends for the year ahead, and the factors that define high-performing customer service teams. Here’s what the survey uncovered about top-performing customer service organizations, and the lessons for your business.

Top performing customer service companies …

  • Have three priorities: “always-on” service, personalized service and faster service. For a small business, outsourcing customer service can offer your customers 24/7 assistance, CRM tools can help you maintain records enabling more personalized service, and setting goals and monitoring results can improve response speed.
  • Value efficiency. Speed is still the number-one metric top performers use to measure their customer service reps’ success. When asked to name their top three metrics, 47 percent choose average handle time, 38 percent say the number of cases handled and 32 percent name customer satisfaction.
  • Empower customer service employees to do whatever is needed to make customers happy. Top-performing companies are more than three times more likely than poor performers to have empowered employees.
  • Are more likely to be heavy users of technology. For example, high performers are more likely to be providing service via mobile apps or to be exploring video streaming as a customer service tool.
  • Excel at predicting what customers need. You can use CRM tools as well as social listening tools to assist in these predictions.
  • Use analytics and dashboards to learn and improve. You can use these tools to measure your customer service team’s key performance indicators, as well as to collect and analyze customer feedback.
  • Tap into the power of self-service and community portals to enable customers to find their own solutions to problems. (That’s a smart move, because the same study shows Millennial consumers overwhelmingly use self-service options first before initiating any type of interaction with a customer service representative.) Creating self-service options can be simple, like putting up a list of FAQs or more complex, such as a searchable database of solutions.

Is your small business on track to be a top customer service performer — or are you already there?

Six Indian cities in top 10 realty investment spots in Asia-Pacific

Six Indian cities — including Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai — have found place in the top 10 emerging property investment destinations list for the Asia-Pacific.

 

“Most global investments this year will be made in commercial office assets. Markets in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune are well placed to outperform other cities from emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific,” said a report titled ‘Betting on Asia Pacific’s next core cities,’ by property consultant Cushman & Wakefield.

 

Limited investment opportunities in safe haven core markets of Asia-Pacific have prompted investors to turn their attention to secondary and tertiary markets and even to non-core property types, said Cushman & Wakefield.
The consultant used a proprietary tool, strategic location indicator and selected the next core and emerging markets in the region that will offer investors the opportunity to tap into their long-term growth fundamentals, which will become increasingly viable due to sustained reforms.

 

Siddhart Goel, senior director, research services at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Asia-Pacific remains a very viable investment target for global capital. After entering in 2005 to 2008 and having learnt many valuable lessons since, global investors are well equipped to take advantage of the potential that Indian real estate markets offer.  The country is firmly on track to become an economic powerhouse, with strengthening GDP (gross domestic product), better business environment and investor-friendly policies”.

 

Goel said that the developments have resulted in net absorption across the top eight Indian cities to remain in the range of 32-35 million square feet in the last three years even as the share of the IT-BPM sector in commercial office leasing has steadily gone down from 65-70 per cent to 52-55 per cent during this period. “Within APAC, India is expected to continue contributing highly to the total office demand. Consequently, global investors are increasing their capital outlays substantially as they are confident about the long-term prospects of the Indian economy in an environment of increasing transparency and accountability backed by policy reforms such as RERA, REITS, GST, Benami Transactions Act, etc,” he said.

 

What’s ahead in APAC?

 

Cushman said according to its ‘The Atlas Summary 2017’ report, real estate investment volume in the Asia-Pacific is expected to hit $611 billion this year. A total investment value of close to $136 billion in the region in the first quarter of this year, a record quarter high, and is a good indicator of health of investment in real estate in the Asia Pacific region. Pending any unforeseen circumstances in the months ahead, a positive momentum is expected to continue making a banner year for real estate investments in Asia Pacific.

Six Indian cities among top 10 emerging investment destinations in Asia Pacific region

Moneycontrol News

Six Indian cities, including Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and New Delhi are among the top 10 markets targeted by investors in Asia Pacific region. Most of the global investments for this year will be made in commercial office assets in these markets, says a report titled ‘Betting on Asia Pacific’s Next Core Cities’ by international consultant Cushman & Wakefield.

Limited investment opportunities due to a shortage of investment-grade assets in the safe haven core markets of Asia Pacific have prompted investors to turn their attention to secondary and tertiary markets and even to non-core property types, it said.

In its latest research report, the company has used a proprietary tool – Strategic Location Indicator – and selected the next core and emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region that will offer investors the opportunity to tap into their long-term growth fundamentals, which will become increasingly viable due to sustained reforms.

“Asia Pacific remains a very viable investment target for global capital. After entering in 2005 to 2008 and having learnt many valuable lessons since then, global investors are now well equipped to take advantage of the potential that Indian real estate markets offer,” Siddhart Goel, Sr. Director, Research Services Cushman & Wakefield said.

He further said: “The country is firmly on track to become an economic powerhouse with strengthening GDP, better business environment and investor-friendly policies by the Central Government.”

Despite concerns about global events such as Brexit and changing US immigration policies impacting the IT-BPM sector in India, the company has seen that other sectors such as BFSI, healthcare, consulting services and various manufacturing industries are increasingly driving demand for commercial spaces.

“This has resulted in net absorption across the top 8 Indian cities to remain in the range of 32-35 million square feet (msf.) in the last three years even as the share of the IT-BPM sector in commercial office leasing has steadily gone down from 65 per cent to 70 per cent to 52 percent to 55 per cent during this period,” he said.

 

Six Indian cities among top 10 emerging investment destinations in Asia Pacific region

“Within APAC, India is expected to continue contributing highly to the total office demand. Consequently, global investors are increasing their capital outlays substantially as they are confident about the long-term prospects of the Indian economy in an environment of increasing transparency and accountability backed by policy reforms such as RERA, REITS, GST, Benami Transactions Act, etc,” he said.

Investment activity in Asia Pacific has been robust in 2017. As noted in C & W annual report The Atlas Summary 2017 report, real estate investment volume in Asia Pacific is expected to hit USD611 billion this year.

A total investment value of close to USD 136 billion in the region in the first quarter of this year, which is a record quarter high and is a good indicator of health of investment in real estate in Asia Pacific region. Pending any unforeseen circumstances in the months ahead, a positive momentum is expected to continue making 2017 a banner year for real estate investments in Asia Pacific.

For 2017, some of the themes that will continue to influence the investment landscape in the region include real estate going public. Government efforts to implement pro-investor legislation in many emerging countries will improve transparency and efficiency, which will widen the investor base.

While Tokyo and Singapore continue to be the region’s hubs for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), the next wave will be propelled by the region’s emerging markets, in particular China and India, it said.

Alternative assets will be hot. Data centers remain lucrative as online shopping becomes the norm and data needs for cloud-based systems rise. Student housing, retirement living and healthcare are also gaining prominence as popular alternative property investment types, the report said.

Similarly in India, the investment appetite for industrial parks, logistics and warehousing parks is increasing as improving infrastructure, roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and industry friendly policies promoting FDI and private investments, amongst other initiatives support the Central Government’s focus on its Make in India campaign, the report added.

Flipkart Fashion Days Sale: Top 5 offers and big discounts on clothes, bags, footwear, makeup that you cannot afford to miss

The first-of-its-kind nine day fashion sale by online shopping website Flipkart, ‘Fashion Days Sale’ begins today and there is something for all kinds of fashion addicts. The end-of-season sale that will go on till June 18, has some pretty steep discounts on some of the biggest brands of fashion clothing and accessories. Products like jeans, t-shirts, tops, dresses, sports wear for both men and women, sunglasses, watches and even , bags, sports accessories and footwear from brands like Addidas and others, are on sale at Flipkart.

Here are some of the deals that you just can’t afford to miss today:

1. Upto 60 per cent discount on makeup and beauty products from Maybelline, Lakme and other top brands. Products like foundation, eye liner, mascara, lipsticks, eye shades, nail polishes and even makeup brushes are available at huge discounts.

Credits: Twitter @Flipkart

2. Upto 70 per cent off on travel and trolley bags, suitcases, backpacks and handbags from Giordano.

3. Skmei, Sanda, S Shock and other sports watches are available for under Rs 999, starting from as low as Rs 470. The sale also features fashion watches from Timex and Fastrack at discounts that go up to as much as 80 per cent.

4. Running, hiking, trekking and other heavy duty and normal sports shoes from Wildcraft, Nike, Fila, Adidas, Reebok, are also available on discounts that go up to 50 per cent.

5. Casual tops for women start from Rs 300, with discounts of as much as 70 per cent. There is a discount of upto 50 per cent on women’s tunics as well.

There are additional discounts for payments application Phone Pe and also HDFC customers who use the shopping card to make purchases. The sale is expected to rake in big monies for the website that is looking to clear its stocks with this end-of-season sale. The website has done something different this time, by curating wardrobes according to preferences of shoppers with sections like Diva, Workaholic, Sports Guru, etc.