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PSPinc will help your business thrive by providing for all of your technology needs. We offer a wide array of products, including Web & Email Hosting, Website Development, Email Marketing and Data Storage Solutions. Visit pspinc.com to learn more.

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Augmented Reality and the Future of Business

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One of my favorite, recently discovered apps is SkyView Lite. It’s an app that helps you identify all the stars and constellations in the night sky. I’m no expert in identifying the stars, so when I read an article that told me which constellation to look at to view a particular meteor shower, I had no idea where to start. Enter SkyView Lite.

After you download the app, you simply look up at the sky through your smart phone, and the app overlays the names of constellations and planets to show you what you’re looking at. It’s the perfect example of how augmented reality displays digital information over what we’re seeing in the real world before us. Sure, I could also check out an astronomy book and see what the Big Dipper looks like, but this augmented reality apps bring that knowledge to us in a much more convenient format.

So, how can all this great technology help our businesses? Augmented reality can make things more realistic to us, bring information to us faster, and bring us together from remote locations. Whether it’s creating interactive employee experiences and meetings, interactive training and education resources, showcasing products in a more realistic way, or even designing office spaces virtually, AR is developing quickly to be accessible for your business needs. Soon, you may be able to repair an office machine on your own with augmented reality instructions versus calling the repairman. Or you may be able to travel to a different city and walk down the street with an app that shows you digital information over what you’re viewing versus reading about it in a bulky guide book.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AR #VR #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality

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Case Study: Try it Before you Buy it

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Have you ever shopped for a critical piece of furniture such as a table or couch, and in the store you think it looks fabulous, but once you get it home, it’s not the right fit, or the color doesn’t go with your paint or other décor?

Furniture shopping can be tricky. But what if you could virtually bring that piece of furniture into your home and assess how it looks before you buy it? Well, there’s an app for that, brilliantly designed by the mega home store, Ikea.

Ikea’s app utilizes augmented reality technology, allowing you to shop by virtually placing the piece of furniture from its website within the image of your room that’s displayed on your device. You can change the color, the layout, and other elements to work through the decision process. You can design your dream room right on your device!

All of this technology has a common goal: to create a more savvy and convenient customer shopping experience for people buying a product or service. Better experiences come with easier interactions, better communication, virtual demonstrations and trials, and more. This empowers the customer to make wiser, more confident purchasing decisions.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AR #VR #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality

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Remembering the 2011 Tsunami & Earthquake

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Remembering the 2011 Tsunam... Remembering the 2011 Tsunam... Remembering the 2011 Tsunam... Remembering the 2011 Tsunam... Remembering the 2011 Tsunam...
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake created a tsunami that hit the coast of Japan killing 15,000 and injuring more than 6,000 others. As we look back and remember those we lost and the vast number of people affected, our thoughts and prayers are still with those who lives were forever changed on that day.

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Case Study: The Hybrid Store Experience

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Last year, Nordstrom opened a store with no inventory – yes, NO INVENTORY.

How could that be?

Its first boutique-style store, called Nordstrom Local, opened in Los Angeles last October. The store is only 3,000 square feet. It’s a new test for the giant department store. Although there is no inventory, it has large dressing rooms so you can try on the items you purchased online and sent to the store for curbside pickup. While you’re there, you can also make a return or have your garment tailored if needed; you can sit and enjoy a beverage, work with a personal stylist, even get your nails done.

This “hybrid store” concept is being tried by several of the giants. Amazon purchased Whole Foods, Fedex purchased Kinkos … we want the familiarity of the big box store and the convenience of online shopping, so companies are developing a hybrid of both experiences for us.

Although it’s hard to say if brick and mortar stores will ever go away completely, the trend is definitely steering away from mega-sized retail buildings with the help of online purchasing.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #OnlineShopping #Retail #AR #AugmentedReality

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Case Study: Innovation Starts with Failure

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Not all technology and innovation is going to work for all business models, but without trying them first, or at least researching them, we can never know the possibilities. So let’s see how some of the larger companies are trying out augmented reality (AR) to make their products more accessible and popular. We’ll start with our first case study, featuring Neiman Marcus.

The high-end store has vowed to stay current with new technology, and even has its own department called the innovation lab, or iLab for short, since 2012. Scott Emmons, head of iLab, was quoted on retaildive.com, saying,

“While failures don’t produce an immediate return on investment, they do provide a valuable learning experience. Not everything works,” he said. "Most of the time, it won’t.”

“Your companies are geared toward success, and you have to think about these experiments not as failures, but as learnings that can be applied to future projects.”
Source: retaildive.com

So far, however, Neiman Marcus has developed some cool AR technology to help its customers get a convenient and thorough shopping experience:

Snap. Find. Shop:

When you download the Neiman Marcus app, you can take a picture of an item you like, such as shoes or a handbag, and the app will find something very similar to that item available for purchase. Whether you buy it or not, the app is kind of fun to explore.

Memory Mirror:

Neiman Marcus created a digital mirror so you can see different colors and styles on you. You can view outfits side by side to compare; you can save your “try on” experience to view at home later on, or you can share your images with someone else for a second opinion. Check out the YouTube video for a visual explanation of how it works: https://youtu.be/Xp7s_kCHJS0
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AR #VR #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality

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The Future of Business in an Altered Reality World

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Your reality -- what you see, what you hear, and possibly what you smell and touch, may be impacted by some sort of altered reality. Even major companies are starting to implement different “virtual reality” (VR) or “augmented reality” (AR) techniques into their customer experiences, and we are going to touch on a few of those this month. The hope is you’ll read our case studies and see from a business stand point, where your company could go and grow as technology develops.

First things first: What is the difference between VR and AR? Because they are not the same.

VR is within a closed screen that simulates a new environment, and it brings new experiences outside of the viewer’s reality within view. Virtual Reality happens with some sort of viewer you wear; a headset.

AR happens in the real world in front of you. It combines the real world with digital information; it enhances your reality. It’s often referred to as a layer of information over what you’re seeing in front of you. For example, an app that takes a picture of your living room, and let’s you digitally place a couch in the room so you can see how it looks and fits before purchasing the real thing. Or an app that allows you to “try on” a new lipstick color by digitally placing it over a picture of your lips.

You see, VR and AR aren't just for gamers. Yes, games with headsets are played within virtual worlds, and Pokémon Go is an AR game where the Pokémon world gets layered over your real world through an app. But altered realities can work in our real lives too, and in our business environments. We’ll discuss this topic more thoroughly through case studies all month long.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AugmentedReality #AR #VirtualReality #VR

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CES 2018: A Wide Range of Robots and A.I. on Display

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Not all artificial intelligence, or what we call robots, come in the shape of a human. You’ve probably seen the iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner, as one example of that. Still, as the new generation of Roomba connects to the Internet, it can learn and remember your house layout, therefore becoming a “smarter,” more efficient cleaning tool for you. The Roomba is classified as a robot by definition because it’s “a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.” - per Google

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), robots were displayed all over, showing off what actions they can do and learn. It’s apparent from the show, household robots with artificial intelligence are getting closer to becoming a reality in our daily lives. Many industry leaders in the auto and medical industries are experimenting with different types of robots that can benefit us in those fields as well.

We even saw robots whose purpose is purely for fun and enjoyment. The return of Sony’s robotic puppy, Aibo, may be making a comeback as one of those. Check out the latest version of Aibo on YouTube. We have one of the original Aibo puppies from over a decade ago sitting idle in our office museum, but the newest Aibo can interact much more intelligently than its predecessor.

The more realistic robot demonstrated at CES was Sophia, a humanoid robot by Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong. You can watch an interactive question and answer session, where she even jokes with the interviewer. A couple of robotic pole dancers were debuted at a Las Vegas night club during CES this year – demonstrating the vast amount of ways A.I. technology can be used.

Whatever we create using A.I. with robots, unless we humans clearly define their purpose, they can be turned into something used for good or evil; a benefit to our society or something taxing on our society. After all, even though robots are smart, it’s still humans who define their programs, uses, controls and access. It’s still humans who will define our future society.
#PSPinc #Blog #CES2018 #Technology #Innovation #ConsumerElectronics #Robotics #ArtificialIntelligence #AI

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CES 2018: Voice Commands to Manage the Home

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Our last article touched on smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Alexa. Let’s take it one step further to see what kinds of tasks a smart speaker can initiate via its connectivity to your home. As your home appliances and entertainment become more connected to an ultra hi-speed Internet, you’ll have more opportunity to manage your home by voice command. For instance, did you know Alexa can be integrated with certain microwaves to pop your popcorn on command? We think that’s a fun feature; check it out here: https://youtu.be/O-4tWbRJANU

Currently, it’s a battle between Google and Amazon for the most popular smart speaker. It’s reported the in-home speaker market is split between Amazon 70% versus Google 23%. Those stats may change, however, depending on which platform appliance manufacturers choose to integrate with.

But voice commands aren’t just for speakers. The artificial intelligence is also getting integrated directly into your home appliances, home security, and entertainment systems. At some point you may find yourself simply asking your microwave to defrost your 2 lb. chicken breast rather than pushing the buttons to do so.

It will be very interesting to see how this artificial intelligence for our homes and offices evolves and shifts in popularity. From smart speakers to smart appliances, smart lighting and more, appliance manufacturers are working quickly to simplify everything in our lives.
#PSPinc #Blog #CES2018 #Technology #Innovation #ConsumerElectronics #Alexa #Amazon #ArtificialIntelligence #AI

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Click It Audio - Press Release

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Click It Audio - Press Release
Don’t read. Listen!

Integrate audio seamlessly into your website or blog!

https://www.clickitaudio.com

Bellevue, Wash (02/21, 2018) - Click It Audio wants to change how you consume content online. The recently launched service aims to change your text content into audio clips. Users upload audio files to Click It Audio, which then creates a snippet of code that can be embedded into any website.

“Like a headset, you borrow at a museum to listen to the explanation, sure, you can always read but why should you?” Ken Uchikura, chairman PSPinc, said.

Their goal is to substitute text-heavy pages on your website for audio to make it easy for your visitors to follow along. Click It Audio not only creates the code for your audio, it also keeps your audio stored and listed on your account for easy management. If you’re not sure how to create audio, or if you want a more professional touch, they offer a professional and highly skilled audio engineering team that will help create scripts, add voice-overs, and sound effects to your audio.

Audio files of up to 5 minutes can be recorded and uploaded to your website. It starts with 3 free uploads to embed and then users can easily buy a monthly subscription if they need more. Click It Audio is here to challenge how you consume your online content, and we’re listening.

For more information about Click It Audio, visit them online here.

About PSPinc: PSPinc, founded in 1987 by Ken Uchikura, at that time he was developing software out of a room in his apartment on Mercer Island, WA. 30 years later, PSPinc has now grown into a full-service software company offering web hosting, web design, and marketing solutions. Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, PSPinc houses 50 employees and has two offices in California. With more than 40,000 companies of all sizes around the world trusting them for websites, email, and online services.
#ClickItAudio

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CES 2018: The Evolution of Smart Speakers

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Why is Alexa a hot item in our homes today? Because it’s not just a speaker for music, but rather it’s a home butler system run by artificial intelligence. When it comes to the Internet of things (IoT), manufacturers are aiming to become the leader in connecting all devices and appliances in the household or office via these smart speaker systems. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, the battle was on between Amazon’s Alexa and other competitors, like Google, who showed off what technology they have to offer.

Smart speakers come with voice commands. Instead of typing on your keyboards, you talk to your speaker, which will answer you back, and sometimes take it a step further by ordering items, setting up your appointments, or arming your home security systems. The futuristic technology we saw in the Star Trek movies is now looking like a reality in our homes!

The variety of voice commands and the quality of responses by artificial intelligence have improved a lot in the last few years, but there is room for more. How much the speakers can access and control are key to their success. After all, smart speakers are not smart unless people give them the logic to perform their specified tasks.

Paired with ultra-fast wireless broadband connections, technology is on the horizon for household electronics, audio/TV, appliances, security systems, and more, to be controlled by artificial intelligence.
#PSPinc #Blog #CES2018 #Technology #Innovation #ConsumerElectronics #Alexa #Amazon #ArtificialIntelligence #AI

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