technology

Keeping Up with Digital Financing

Digital financing is not a waste of technology. Technological innovation, they opine, is a waste of time and efforts, if it does not prove fruitful for humans. There is no place for “technology for the sake of technology”. And, digital financing, fortunately has clearly not been a waste of either time or energy. Let us delve deep into statistics.

Digital financing: Its impact on the developing countries

Digital financing has brought about major changes in the way banks function today. That’s enough for the developed countries. One will possibly be amazed to trace the growth of digital money in the developing nations. Talking about mobile money, let us tell you that countries like Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Uganda and Tanzania have embraced it with open arms. The major impact left by digital financing could well be gauged at the end of 2013 itself, when there were actually more than 200 mobile money services spread across 84 countries.app_09

Mobile money is your sole gateway to financial services if you’re living in a developing country

Yes, mobiles serve as the gateway to all financial transactions for people residing in the developing nations. Mobiles have, in fact, gone on to serve millions of people in areas where banks don’t exist physically (and even if they do, they are not ready to function). There’s so much you can do with your “mobiles”. In fact digitization of finances has made it cheaper for people to send payments. Digital finance has even come to be regarded as the core of the business models, where innovators have tried hard to enable people to pay in small increments through the pay as you go format. A few of them see digital finance as a link between financial services and remote areas. Thanks to mobiles, these financial services can now be connected to crucial areas including healthcare, education, agriculture and much more.

Digital Financing: What Next?

The world, however, is already busy predicting the next big steps of digital financing. The phenomenon, it seems has addressed the very need for access to financial services at a global level. Quite unfortunately, around 2.5 billion people in the developing countries have zero access to basic financial services. And, then there are those 200 million (in fact more than that) businesses being deprived of the basic financing facilities.

There were several speakers at the Springs Meetings in 2014, who opined that the digital solutions would actually go on to help the World Bank Group achieve the goal of guarantying universal access to a gamut of financial services by 2020. Let us take you through this interesting trivia.

There are actually people in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania who use the mobile money option to pay installments of the regular stuff used by them through mobiles. Besides the developing countries, digital financing has a major role to play in empowering small business as well. These businesses have been quick to embrace the electronic payment systems where their financial records remain completely secured and they have a chance to build on a solid financial history as well.

While attempts to integrate digital financing functionalities with small businesses and developing countries are in full throttle, the next big steps of the “digital financing revolution” have already been acknowledged. And, here is a list of the same:

Blockchain remains one of the most anticipated technological innovations to be adopted by traditional banks. It is a shared database which is known for supporting bitcoin (cryptocurrency). Once the banking services introduce it, one can expect major improvements in security and overall functionality.

Social media might as well come in to major play where banks and other service providers are most likely to shun their “overwhelming fear of protocols” and embrace a slightly intimate approach regarding audience engagement on digital platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and others

In the coming years, the digital technology is expected to impact several aspects of banking far more significantly than it did in the earlier years. Product development, front office operations, back office operations, marketing communication and client experience – nothing is going to be excluded from the ambit of digitization. In simple words, digitization of the money will not really only be about the creation of apps.

Mobile payments though a favorite buzzword of many, are a practice which sadly has been restricted to millennials (primarily) so far. In the coming years, however, it is expected that mobile initiatives will take the shape of a mainstream practice. The day isn’t far when CurrentC, Apple Pay and Softcard are going to take center stage when it comes to making payments.

The aforementioned trends are most likely to shape digital financing in the coming years. The financial services have not really been able to match up to the pace of other industries, when it comes to adaptability to the fast evolving technologies. They continue to resort to old school techniques to reach out to consumers. The need of the hour is to adopt a stronger method of analysis.

Come 2016- we will be eagerly waiting to see if the financial service providers are quick to respond to changes or not.

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Saving on Technology

Our dependence on technology creates the illusion that we always need the newest, shiniest, and most expensive new toy. Unfortunately, this is many times a fallacy. Many of these new products that we line up around the corner for, are just as useful as other products that can be obtained for cheaper prices. In addition, the technology we buy can have a profound effect on the services that we use to power our devices. Here are some ways that you can save on the technology you need, while maximizing your ability to enjoy them.

Saving on Technology:

One obvious way to save on technology, is to understand what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. Just because a product is expensive doesn’t mean that is the one you need, many times the expense of a product is driven by the market, and by bells and whistles meant to make you believe you can’t live without it. By understanding your needs, you can avoid spending money on useless features that you’ll never be able to fully enjoy. For instance, if you don’t take a lot of pictures, you really don’t need the smartphone with advanced picture taking and editing abilities.

images2Televisions, provide us endless entertainment, but buying a television for the wrong reasons can leave your wallet in a world of hurt. It can be fun to learn and talk about all the new features, but the truth is many television manufacturers have televisions with the same specifications for lower prices. It is possible to get the same features for less money, as long as you’re willing to shop around a little bit. Additionally, these products can cost just as much to fix, as it is to buy a new one. By getting a good deal, you can save money for when you’ll need a new TV again.

Many people, especially new college students, experience the need to get a top of the line laptop that will last them all throughout college. However, the life of a computer is much more predicated on how well you treat your device. Frequent virus scans and maintenance will help extend the life of your computer, and keep it running smoother. The longer you have it, the more money you’ll save.

Possibly the most prominent place we see technology users flock to the newest, most expensive is in the world of smartphones. “The next big thing” is a phrase heard in many smartphone advertisements, but many times this next big thing, is really a small feature in the grand scheme of things. For example, a smartphone that displays information on the edges of the phone. Do you really need that? Is it really that difficult to pick up your phone and look at the screen? Many would argue no, and that’s why they are saving money on their smartphones.

How this Affects Service Providers:

The more money that is spent on the actual devices, the less money is left over to pay for the service that is needed to use it. An expensive TV means less channels you’re able to afford, expensive laptops inhibit your ability to add extra software that you’ll need, like Microsoft office. Too much money spent on smartphones could decrease the amount of data you’re able to buy on your service plan, which would defeat the purpose of spending that much on a phone.

This can also work the opposite way, if you decide that the expensive technology is the best for your lifestyle, then purchasing cheaper services will save you money for technology. For example, the programming DirecTV Los Angeles offers can both help you save money for technology, and cut down on money spent on service providers. This allows for TV users to get the most out of their devices, as well as their TV service; helping to be more entertained and overall happier with their customer experience.

Knowing what you personally need out of your technology, as well as what you’ll need to power your device can help save money, and ultimately get the most out of the technology that you spend hard earned money on. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to conduct thorough research of any product or type of product before purchasing, as prices can vary from place to place, and device to device. Spending all your money on expensive, shiny new gadgets limits your ability to pay for their service. What’s the point of great technology, without great service?

The best advice when it comes to buying technology, is to not get caught up in advertisements. Of course you think you need it, that’s the whole reason they say what they say. However, through your own research you can weed out, what you need and what you don’t.


7 Ways To Help You Save Money On Energy Bills

energy efficiencyPeople are always looking for ways to save on energy costs. Here are a couple of tips you may have forgotten or need to explore to help yourself conserve energy.

Control the light

Start with the basics. Controlling the amount of sunlight that comes into your home is important for any season to save energy. During the hot seasons, you’ll want to block as much direct sunlight as possible. Use blinds and curtains to your advantage. At night, if it gets cooler, you may consider opening a window to give your HVAC system a break. During winter months, you’ll want to do the opposite. Let the light in to warm your home and close your curtains and blinds to help prevent the cool air from coming in.

Use fans

During the hot season, use fans to maintain a comfortable temperature. Keeping the air constantly moving can make the temperature and humidity level feel more comfortable. Delaying the use of your AC system can save you a lot of money. It’s better to have a fan constantly running than to have an AC system constantly turning on and off to maintain your desired temperature.

Fix your leaks

Air leaks are the worst. You can lose a ton of energy from leaks around your doors and windows. Use weather stripping and caulking to better manage your ventilation. Keep the air in your home by clogging these leaks.

Tune-up your HVAC system

Not many people pay attention to this, but it’s always a good idea to have your HVAC system checked up on professionally every year. Even brand new systems can begin to dwindle in efficiency after a year. Having a professional help you maintain your HVAC system increases its efficiency, saving you money on energy and possible repairs that may have gotten out of hand.

Replace your bulbs

If you’re still using old light bulbs, you’ll want to replace those with Energy Star qualified lights to help yourself save money on those aggressive energy bills.

Turn off the lights

This is a classic tip, but one people don’t seem to adhere to. Turn off lights that are not being used. During sunlight hours, use natural lighting to help you out in your home. You don’t want to pay for wasted and unnecessary energy usage. Also, this tip doesn’t only apply to lights: don’t let other appliances around your home stay on if they’re not in use.

Home automation

You can save a bunch of energy with home automation systems. There are many apps out there, such as the app from Alarm.com, that can help you with this. This app is mainly used for home security systems, but can also help you save energy by allowing you to control your home appliances and lights remotely. With this, if you accidentally leave something on when you leave home, you’ll be able to turn it off using your phone. Additionally, you’ll be able to control your thermostat remotely. Special schedules can be set to mandate when appliances and HVAC systems turn on. Home automation can help you save a lot of energy.

About the author: Michael is a writer, tech geek, and blogger. Keep up with his blogs to stay updated with the latest gadgets and apps.


Real Property Remains a Solid Investment

Investments in real property are generally considered solid options because they build equity over time. Land titles are tangible proof that the holder possesses something of value. However, it is crucial for property owners to acquire property at the right price to make sure that the investment pays off given time.

Property Assessment Defines the Price

When it comes to real estate, valuation is never random even when bidding wars ensue for highly desirable properties. Property assessment is both a science and an art. It is a science because solid numbers, historical and current data are used to come up with the property’s value.

Valuation metrics may take recent sales of comparable properties into consideration. It may also factor in local economic conditions and business initiatives that would impact property values.

There is some creative input involved when it comes to property valuation. Intangible factors and subjective considerations will come into play when choosing which recently sold properties to include as comparable sales to compute for property value.

Uses of Property Valuations

The valuation metrics used will vary depending on the type of property and purpose of the valuation. Assessment of real properties can be the basis for setting market price when selling a home. In this case, it is important to use reliable values culled from prices of similar properties that recently sold within the same market area. This determination becomes an issue in a down market when few properties are changing hands. Property assessment can also pose a problem for unique properties that have few comparable estates within the area.

Property valuation is undertaken by the local taxing authority to determine property tax for the upcoming year. In this case, the considerations will include improvements made on the property and on surrounding public and private properties. The current market climate will also come into play in the analysis of values. In any case, sale price valuation will usually differ from taxable valuation.

Property Search in a Digital World

Property ownership has played a big role in the fortunes of many families throughout history. Ownership of real estate is the core of the prototypical American dream. Land titles have been a source of pride, family feuds and financial skullduggery.

Fortunately, technology has changed the way property is acquired, exchanged and analyzed. Record keeping is mostly digitized, as are detailed maps of populated areas. Property searches are automated, making information accessible to anyone with access to the Internet. Access to information has improved decision-making on the part of buyers, sellers and their agents.

The accuracy and timeliness of market analysis and the resulting valuation has improved with easy access to up-to-date reports. In addition, application software capable of crunching statistics into usable reports have leveled the playing field for buyers and sellers in the real estate market.

The prevalence of portable digital devices reduced the time it takes to complete a transaction from property search to closing. Social media energized the marketing aspect while improved communications made transactions more transparent.

Technology has transformed the business of buying and selling property making it more efficient and productive for all parties involved.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.depositphotos.com
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.depositphotos.com

A Geowarehouse subscription includes thorough and in-depth reports that make it easier for you. From a property assessment to searches, Geowarehouse provides real estate and non-real estate professionals the information and tools to make their work easier


Top 3 Personal Finance Apps

Top 3 Personal Finance Apps

One of the biggest issues facing America today is the economy. With jobs scarce and money tight, frugality and smart spending are some of the most important qualities that help get us through these tough economic times. Banks and financial institutions are under heavy scrutiny due to government bail outs and reckless spending. Some of the main focuses in accounting classes are how people can self regulate their own finances. Being able to understand your own financial situation and the ability to plan and adapt to unforeseen expenditures is key to financial survival.

With advances in technology Americans no longer have to rely on the old pen and paper work of balancing a checkbook. The ability to have instant up to the minute information about your own financial standing and other economic information really makes the sagging economy easier to handle. The following is a list of the top 3 financial applications you should have on your smart phone or mobile device.

  1. Mint.com Personal Finance App
    The Mint app is by far the best financial planner available on the market. It’s free, and can track any different financial accounts you add on it. It has real-time updates of your bank accounts and bill payment notifications. The application allows the user to place monthly/weekly spending limits and can send text messages when that limit is reached. The Mint application also can notify the user when excessive spending (based on set information) or unrecognized spending has occurred. Along with financial goal calculators, and loan pay off planners, the Mint app is a necessity on every phone and mobile device.
  2. Paypal App
    If you have ever purchased anything off of Ebay.com you know the most accepted form of payment for items is Paypal. What is not quite as well known is that Paypal is very popular accepted form of payment on many websites. The Paypal application lets users send money to people, pay for items online, transfer money between accounts, find local businesses that accept Paypal (which you can then use your phone to pay for), and also take photos of checks to have them deposited into the account. Paypal also is a safe, convenient way to pay. If there are every any issues with purchased product Paypal has wonderful support and usually can get your money back.
  3. Square App
    The square app is perfect for anyone running a small business, or anyone needing to accept payment from someone. The square application is free to sign up for, and has an optional attachment that plugs into a headphone jack. The attachment allows any credit card or debit card to be swiped for payment. The screen then allows the payer to sign their name so the payment can be processed. The app can also be used with the attachment, so you can enter in a credit card number instead of swiping it. Since not all of us have taken accounting courses, there are options to allow for tax and tipping, and has easy deposit features to transfer payments into a user’s bank account. Square is the go-to app for anyone who needs to accept payments ranging from an up-start company to a family garage sale. Being able to accept credit cards instead of cash only increases purchases and allows the user to be able to tap into markets normally unavailable.

Garrett Holland graduated with a degree in Criminology and Psychology from UC Irvine.


The Importance of Trademarking for Your Business

The Importance of Trademarking for Your Business

For small business owners, trademarking can seem like a long hard legal road that you need to hire a professional lawyer to handle. While it is complicated, some small business owners fail to properly trademark their information and technology and fall victim to pirates and others who want to profit off of their hard work.

It was recently announced that the once popular MP3 sharing service, Napster, will officially go out of business. Napster was perhaps one of the first major sources for drawing up the debate on whether music should be free to download or if it was illegal. The courts found that “sharing” music was illegal, but that did not stop several other websites that traded music, movies, software, and books from popping up all over the world.

Music and media are not the only things that need to be trademarked. Every part of your business is a point of contention when it comes to trademarks. Major technology companies such as Apple, Samsung, and HTC have been litigating with each other over patents on their touchscreen and smartphone technology ever since the iPod came out. It’s not just technology squabbling with each other, companies that make things like rings for men and memory mattresses are at each other’s throats for trademarks for the most miniscule of technology.

If you do not end up trademarking certain parts of your business, you could face certain people who try to undercut your business and steal your ideas. Another important factor to consider in the trademark field is the importance of non disclosure agreements. When you hire a new employee have him or her immediately sign a contract which prevents them from divulging secrets to competitors.

When you are writing blogs and articles for the Internet, there is so much theft and plagiarism that it is impossible to trust what anyone is saying. If you need to hire someone to write copy for your website or update web content, you should invest money in a program called Copyscape. This acts like a more advanced version of Google search and allows you to scan the web for copyrighted content.

The bottom line is that not watching out for trademarks can end up losing your company money. You may lose out on potential profits from not capitalizing on technology. You could also face legal trouble yourself by not keeping up with standards and posting content that doesn’t belong to you.


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