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The Future Is Clear: Connected Glass Will Redefine Commerce, Lifestyle Trends – ReadWrite

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Frank Landman


How we shop, how we work out, how we receive medical care – you name the sector and odds are good that it underwent some major transformations during 2020. That being said, many of the most dramatic changes were less the result of the COVID-19 pandemic than accelerated by it, and this is particularly true in the world of connected tech. Companies didn’t invent entirely new processes to remedy pandemic-related service gaps, but hurried in-progress solutions to market. And, in so doing, they also transformed our lives at home and out in the world.

What types of new technology have been particularly major players in our lives during 2020? At the heart of it all were a variety of Augmented Reality (AR) products, like virtual dressing rooms and Face AR for video conferencing, as well as well as AI-based fitness tools like Mirror, a connected fitness device acquired by Lululemon Athletica last year. But as critical as such technology appears to be to our new lifestyle ecosystem, such elements represent significant challenges, especially for the manufacturing sector.

Automated Manufacturing Meets Glass

Automation has been central to the manufacturing sector for years and it’s long been recognized that the only way the industry can keep up with demand today is by continuing to build on industrial automation. When it comes to glass, though, that’s easier said than done. After all, in premise, glass’s value comes largely from the fact that it’s clear. That’s not a problem for human workers who can still perceive its bounds and work with it in industrial settings, but it can present real challenges to robotic vision systems and create barriers to mass manufacturing new technologies.

In typical manufacturing settings, robotic vision programs use reflected light to scan materials and identify key points, allowing for precision work with minimal human involvement. When this same vision is turned on glass or highly reflective metal, however, these vision systems can’t collect the necessary information; the glass or metal is essentially invisible. Observing this issue, there are now new manufacturers working to develop advanced robotic vision programs that use different systems, such as light filters and changing points of view, that can enable such systems to successfully work with glass or shiny metals.

What does such robotic vision look like in practice? Imagine that a business wants to install new glass storefronts that allows customers to interact with displays or browse without even setting foot inside the store. It’s a good idea, and one that shares many traits with other display trends that have been in the news for nearly a decade, but tricky to execute in practice. To create a transparent glass display that’s actually a functional LCD screen, manufacturers will need to be able to apply the same types of automated manufacturing technology that they use for computers, and that means using robotic vision that can see the glass its working on. It’s a tall order, but it’s also the reality of modern technology.

Fitness AIs Rise

Another area in which improved glass-detection will be key to manufacturing is in the growth of the connected fitness sector. Connected fitness has been all the rage since the launch of products like Fitbit, but that was just a starting point. Since then – and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in interest in home fitness – the market for connected fitness tech has exploded. In addition to Fitbit, there are now countless other fitness and health wearables, home fitness equipment like the Peloton bike and SoulCycle’s competitor bike, and the Mirror fitness system mentioned above. All this is to say that people want to work out at home and they need tools to do it.

The Mirror fitness system represents many of the challenges facing glass manufacturing today. Placed in your home, it acts precisely as the name implies – as a mirror – but turn the device on and it’s a mirror, a screen playing a class, and an AI-connected system offering workout modifications and tracking fitness goals. That’s some complicated engineering, and it raises questions about how the device, and other devices like it, is made.

Most of the high-tech mirror and glass products on the market function, at least to some degree, on proprietary technology, so a full glimpse behind the curtain isn’t possible. However, we can infer based on our understanding of robotic vision systems that these products rely on cutting edge technology. Unlike other AI-powered machine vision programs, the ability to detect objects isn’t enough. Instead, it needs to be able to detect items that are, in many ways, meant to avoid detection.

Windshields And Other Glass Innovations

Where else is new glass manufacturing technology in use or on the verge of emergence? There are a number of areas of interest, including smart windshields that could prevent distracted driving, AR smart glasses, which have proved their growth potential in recent years after the initial failure of Google Glass, and much more. All of that indicates high demand for more complex, precise glass manufacturing and processing tools, with invisible but overlaid sensor systems.

One product that may be especially influential in understanding connected technology engineering and manufacturing is the subsector of smart glass known as light control glass of LCG. This glass product has recently experienced an explosion of growth stemming from its use in construction.

LCG has been embraced by builders and property financiers who recognize the health benefits of access to sunlight. Instead of installing tinted glass in window-heavy buildings, then, they choose digitally modifiable glass; individual users can adjust their windows with the power of touch. Better manufacturing technology now allows these glass products to filter out specific light forms, include hazardous UV rays, or darken to mimic traditional privacy glass. Within its niche, this is what’s known as a dynamic material and its applications are extensive.

Now, a significant part of what makes glass so valuable in all of the above applications, as well as in our smart phones and tablets, is that it works well in conjunction with the types of plastic conductive materials commonly used together. Essentially, the plastic conductive film touches the glass and completes a circuit. Typically, that doesn’t work with an all-plastic system, though, which is why we all have to go around worrying that we’ll drop our cellphones and crack the screens. The glass is just too important.

What some new equipment manufacturers are now attempting to develop is a plastic alternative that can stand in for glass’s conductive properties, which would allow for touch-sensitive but durable and lightweight products. Essentially, the more products that rely on touchscreens, the more incentive there is to develop an affordable, plastic alternative. Glass may function well and feel high-end, but it’s expensive and often impractical and our connected environment demands innovation.

Smart Glass Goes Plastic

Among the many potential applications of plastic alternatives to conductive smart glass products include high wear and tear, including AR-based virtual dressing rooms, the high-tech reinvention of stores like Toys R Us, which now features numerous touchscreen stations, and many children’s products. Plastic alternatives are also ideal for outdoor applications like the National Parks, local hiking trails, and even amusement parks, where touchscreens are more likely to be subject to weather conditions and other activity. Durability is a common manufacturing priority across industries, so everything we learn about smart glass manufacturing should be quickly applied to plastic analogs.

Over the last decade, we have steadily made progress towards a moment when users expect everything to be touchscreen equipped, but that moment remains elusive. Still, we’re getting closer, and sturdier material options will bring us closer still. Other improvements in projected capacitive technology allow for faster response times from touchscreen tools, greater durability that prevents scratches and cracks from significantly impacting overall device function, and new anti-glare and anti-stiction technology for greater interactive ease.

Ultimately, transparent conduction technology is going to steadily move away from glass, but most innovations will likely still begin with glass manufacturing. Because of the many advantages that glass offers in terms of quality and conductive capacity and its preference as a material in high-end connected tech, glass is the obvious template. New practices and materials will develop from there.

Frank Landman

Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business.

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Gabb Wireless Raises $14M in Series A Funding Led by Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill – ReadWrite

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Deanna Ritchie


Gabb Wireless Raises $14M in Series A Funding Led by Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill

Gabb Wireless™ set itself apart from the crowd in 2018 when Founder and CEO, Stephen Dalby said, “enough is enough,” and began his journey to provide the only safe phones-for-kids.

LEHI, UTAH – APRIL 20, 2021

 

Dave Jensen, Managing Partner of Sandlot Partners, announced today that, “Sandlot Partners is investing and partnering with Gabb Wireless not only because of its impressive growth and positioning to lead the $30 billion smartphones-for-kids market — but also because it is providing solutions to address the significant screen time addiction problem in our society.”

Gabb Wireless™ is the first of its kind — a company determined to protect children by providing a safe cellular network for kids and their phones. Gabb created the only safe phones-for-kids serving this underserved demographic. Gabb announced this week that it closed a $14 million round of Series A, led by Sandlot Partners and New Orleans Saints quarterback, Taysom Hill.

“As an investor, Gabb checked all the boxes with its impressive growth, founding team and total addressable market. But it’s so much more than that for me. It’s the emotional side of the investment. I love the idea that we can help build something to help save kids in an area with so much need and demand. My wife Emily and I try to be pretty selective of who we tie our brand to — and when considering the chance to invest and partner with Gabb, it was a no-brainer for us and something that we are extremely excited about,” said Saints quarterback, Taysom Hill.

Stephen Dalby, Gabb Founder & CEO, announced the partnership with Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill. “We’re excited to announce our partnership with Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill, who share our passion for driving impact and providing solutions to the growing screen addiction among adolescents.”

“Sandlot has a strong track record of fueling growth and adding value to their portfolio companies. Taysom’s accomplishments as a BYU and Saints quarterback are well documented, and he’s also very impressive off the field and will be a great brand ambassador for the younger demographic Gabb is targeting.”

Gabb Wireless

Kids need to be protected — and Gabb resolved on an action to do just that. Gabb set itself apart from the crowd in 2018 with a steadfast purpose to get safe, effective phones into the hands of parents who want to protect their children from inappropriate content and disturbing practices on social media and games, and other screen-time issues on the internet.

For some time, it’s been known that social media is affecting our youth with cyberbullying and other societal ills. The average child or pre-teen spends about four to seven hours a day of screen time. This disproportionate amount of time in front of a screen has caused depression, anxiety, and even sexual abuse among young adolescents.

Gabb said, “enough is enough,” and began its journey as a mobile virtual network operator, creating the safest technology available for children today. Gabb offers age-appropriate products to give kids the freedom to explore and their parent’s peace of mind. Children can enjoy their first phone experience with the affordable, $100 phone that protects them from internet dangers. Learn more at www.gabbwireless.com.

Gabb has had an unprecedented year of 471% growth and will use the proceeds from the Series A financing to accelerate efforts to provide safe phones for kids and expand its product lines — increasing Gabb’s total addressable market with these safe alternatives for parents of kids ages five to 15.

Sandlot Partners

Sandlot Partners is an independent private investment firm partnering with noteworthy management owners and founders. Sandlot Partners help maximize the growth potential of businesses by providing companies with growth capital, strategic guidance, and partial liquidity. Sandlot leverages its network of founders and operators, identifies growth opportunities, helps structure, and offers additional strong risk-adjusted private investment opportunities. Sandlot investors also include family offices, strategic individuals, and like-minded institutions seeking strong alignment and providing patient capital.

Cooley, LLP, and VLP Law Group provided legal services for this transaction.

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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How to Build a Startup Team With an Entrepreneurial Mindset – ReadWrite

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Nate Nead


Much of your startup’s success will depend on the quality and integrity of the team you put together. With talented, committed, hardworking people, even a merely decent idea can turn into something groundbreaking. Conversely, even a great idea can struggle to survive if it doesn’t have a solid team in place to support it. 

Obviously, you’ll need to work hard to choose the right people for your team – individuals with a solid experiential background, proof of ample talent, and genuine passion for the business. But beyond that, you’ll need to work actively to equip your team with the right mindsets and philosophies to guide them to productive, innovative work. 

While there are conflicting opinions for what type of company culture works “best,” there’s no denying that your company can (and likely will) benefit from building a team with an “entrepreneurial mindset.” But what is this mentality, and how can you construct it from scratch? 

What Is an “Entrepreneurial Mindset?” 

Let’s start with a description of the “entrepreneurial mindset.” This is an internalized mentality, philosophy, and approach to working within the members of your team that mimics what the most ambitious entrepreneurs tend to feel. 

The mindset includes: 

  • Creativity. Entrepreneurs are creative types. They want to create new ideas, modify existing ones, and come up with inventive new ways to deal with problems. They’re not afraid to think outside the box and try out new concepts – even if they don’t work out. They also like to encourage and promote creative ideas from other people, providing feedback, direction, and motivation to their teammates. 
  • Autonomy and independence. The entrepreneurial mindset also prioritizes autonomy and independence. Entrepreneurs in a business environment don’t wait for someone else to tell them what to do, and they generally don’t have to run their ideas through a bureaucratic chain of command to take action. Instead, they trust themselves, they operate decisively, and they remain agile. In an entrepreneurial environment, your employees will function autonomously in most cases as well. 
  • Change and growth. To be an entrepreneur is to accept the importance of change and growth. The only way for your business to reach more people and make more money is to evolve; that means adding new products and services, changing internal processes, and sometimes, pivoting the entire brand. 
  • Experimentation and adaptation. You probably already know how important it is to remain flexible and adaptable when growing your business. It’s also important for your workforce. With an entrepreneurial mindset, your team of employees will be much more likely to experiment with different approaches and adapt to new scenarios. 
  • Ambitious problem solving. Successful business owners are primarily ambitious problem solvers; they understand there’s some weakness or challenge in the world and are driven to “fix it.” With this mentality, your employees will be more likely to show enthusiasm when solving problems and rising to meet challenges. 

The Value of an Entrepreneurial Team 

So what’s the real value of an entrepreneurial team? 

For starters, you can cut back on direct management and oversight. When all members of your team feel like they have a direct impact on their work environment, and when they’re empowered to do their best, they don’t need as much direction or supervision. Instead of looking over their shoulder, giving them project details, or micromanaging your employees, you can set priorities for them, trust that they’re going to work toward them, and shift your attention to more important matters. This lends itself to a less stressed, more inviting workplace – and allows you to be more productive while tackling the most important projects for your startup

An entrepreneurial mindset also leads to a diversity of thought. When individuals are encouraged to have their own ideas, thoughts, and opinions, they tend to speak more openly in a collaborative environment. They’re more willing to volunteer ideas, offer constructive criticism, and provide meaningful feedback to each other. Such an environment makes it much easier to identify and get rid of bad ideas (before it’s too late), while simultaneously establishing the groundwork for the presentation of highly ingenious concepts. 

Additionally, startups need to keep adapting if they’re going to stay alive. Over time, your target market might change, you might face new competition, and new challenges will threaten your previous approaches. The only way forward is to adapt, incorporating new systems and processes and changing your infrastructure. Ordinarily, teams of employees are reluctant to adapt – after all, most of us don’t particularly like change. However, when the team accepts the importance and value of ongoing adaptability, they’ll be much more likely to be onboard with your latest changes and experiments. 

How to Build a Startup Team With an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Now for the big question – how can you build an entire startup team with a baked-in entrepreneurial mindset? 

  • Create the culture. Everything stems from your company culture. Before you employ any of the following strategies, make sure you have a solid idea for what you want your company culture to be. What are your core values? What is the “ideal” employee mindset? How should this mindset be fostered? What rules exist, if any, to enforce this? Document your company culture guidelines first. 
  • Choose the right candidates. With a culture document in place, you’ll find it much easier to interview candidates – and find out whether they’re a good fit for this environment. Even if they have a lot of talent and experience, they may not thrive in an entrepreneurial workplace; figure this out early, before you hire someone. 
  • Lead by example. You’re the leader, so set the tone. People will follow your example. Whatever habits you want your employees to practice, incorporate them into your own daily work. 
  • Nurture from the top down. You’re not the only leader within your organization, so make sure you select and support strong leaders who can embody and spread your desired entrepreneurial culture from the top down. 
  • Encourage independent management and decision making. Sometimes, employees will have to run their idea “up the ladder” before taking action. But as much as possible, it’s important to encourage autonomy and independent decision making. Empower your employees to make their own decisions, set their own goals, and devise their own approaches to work.  
  • Stimulate creativity. Creativity is vital for an entrepreneurial mindset to thrive. Use creative brainstorming sessions, music, art, and other exercises to encourage your team to think in novel ways. 
  • Get everyone to contribute in meetings. Encourage every member of your team to contribute in your meetings. More contributors will foster an environment of openness and collaborative sharing; it will also help you ferret out the best ideas, which otherwise might be held back by nervous participants. 
  • Reward good ideas. When a member of your team comes up with a good idea or solves a complex problem, reward them and publicly praise them. It will encourage further idea generation in the future and motivate other team members to volunteer their own ideas. 
  • Respect bad ideas. It’s not just about good ideas; it’s also important to tolerate and even respect bad ideas. When someone volunteers a questionable idea or makes a poor decision, show your support. Feel free to offer feedback and criticism, but don’t make the person feel bad for trying to do something inventive or helpful. You don’t want to punish people for trying something new. 
  • Remain adaptive. The most innovative, disruptive businesses are the ones that can adapt. Encourage your team members to remain similarly adaptable, keeping an open mind for new ideas and being willing to change when necessary. 

Once your team is full of people thinking and acting like entrepreneurs, your company will be much more flexible, innovative, and productive. And best of all, this entrepreneurial culture tends to be self-sustaining; your employees will naturally spread it to new recruits and continue to foster this creative, efficient environment. 

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO & Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and software development. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, capital procurement, technology and marketing solutions for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Will AI dominate in 2021? A Big Question – ReadWrite

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Faraz Qureshi


In 2020, AI had rapid transformations and unexpected developments along with excellent innovations. We, as humans have entered into the most digitalized era of all times.

Due to the pandemic of coronavirus, technology has become the central focus like never before. Internet and social media witnessed a tremendous boost as well. No doubt but the COVID-19 brought about massive success to most technological fields.

Will AI dominate in 2021? A Big Question

With progressive developments and advanced modifications in technology, Artificial Intelligence needs no introduction. This groundbreaking technology has been so promising for the past several years and is moving at an advanced pace.

We are Captivated by Artificial Intelligence

Agreeing with the fact that the technologies are captivating us completely with their interesting innovations and gadgets. From Artificial intelligence to machine learning, IoT, big data, virtual and augmented reality, Blockchain, and 5G; everything seems to take over the world way too soon.

Keeping it to the topic of Artificial Intelligence, this technology has expanded its grip on our lives without even making us realize that fact. In the days of the pandemic, the IT experts kept working from home and the tech-grounds kept witnessing smart ideas and AI-driven innovations.

Artificial Intelligence is also the new normal.

Artificial Intelligence is going to be the center of our new normal and it will be driving the other nascent technologies to the point towards success. Soon, AI will be the genius core of automated and robotic operations.

In the blink of an eye, Artificial Intelligence can be seen adopted by companies so rapidly and is making its way into several sectors. 2020 has seen this deployment on a wider scale as the AI experts were working from home but the progress didn’t see a stop in the tech fields.

For the year 2021, Artificial Intelligence is expected to level up to a great extent and is going to deliver phenomenal AI implementation.

Artificial Intelligence in 2021

Even if we talk about the days before the pandemic, AI and ML were already causing drastic changes and widespread disruption in all sectors and industries. Now after the whole year that is passed in the quarantine, in 2021 — we are expecting everything to resume back to normal.

Artificial intelligence and related technologies are going to be the biggest key components that would be impacting almost every sector. Yes, this impact is definitely going to be highly positive so we don’t have to look at the darker side — yet.

With the passing of time, AI would become a key trend that will reshape our home, personal, and work life. This can be pretty alarming right away but soon you will find the advantages that AI will bring.

-The global artificial intelligence software market is estimated to grow speedily in the coming years and would reach up to $126 billion by 2025, a recent report reflected.

In this article, I will show you the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the whole world. With the below-written trends, you will be able to gain an insight into how Artificial Intelligence is reshaping every sector.

It is predicted that whoever leads artificial intelligence in 2030 will continue to rule the world in 2100.

Trends in Artificial Intelligence for 2021

Will AI dominate in 2021? It is the hottest topic and the biggest question running through everybody’s mind.

Hyperautomation:

Artificial Intelligence is going to bring a huge change in the industry and in almost all sectors. We are looking forward to seeing Hyperautomation in every field. This is basically the idea of embedding everything with the automated processes. The repetitive tasks must be done with automation.

AI-powered solutions will help businesses a lot over here and would help these businesses to be redefined. Intelligent technologies will also reshape workplaces with phenomenal capabilities.

AI-driven dynamic operating models:

Most industries are going to adopt Artificial Intelligence for data-driven strategies and to come up with smart technologies and solutions. Due to the pandemic, almost every business has witnessed a loss. Now, everybody is pretty clear that their future plans need to be smoothed out, via Artificial intelligence.

Also, Artificial intelligence is going to bring rapid changes in decision-making as well. Companies look forward to saving their time and cost both and this would be enabled by using the AI.

Autonomous operations for increased efficiency:

In almost every sector, management looks for options that can help the company to be efficient and more secure than ever. AI will bring a boost and the businesses will implement the technology to bring autonomous operations on the stage that will enhance efficiency and the processes will get simplified.

Multiple technologies will play a significant role and the AI will become the center of the activities. Taking care of all the operations and making them more simplified and enhanced, AI will play a vital plank.

AI Engineering:

The field of Artificial intelligence engineering is on the rise. People look forward to pursuing their career paths in the niche of AI to get a secure job future. CEOs and IT leaders of the company are looking forward to deploying new artificial intelligence systems that are maintained and more simplified.

AI is also becoming the core of education and we are going to witness a huge change in the education field knowing as the personalized learning in the form of ML or machine learning. Companies are also going to go for robust engineering strategies to enhance performance.

Convergence of AI into AIoT:

The AI and IoT are turning old concepts into the new concept of AIoT — and it’s on the rise. The internet of things and artificial intelligence are being combined to come up with a newer form of technology. Adding AI into the IoT would help the AIoT to complete the tasks and to learn the data without the involvement of humans.

AIoT will be a lot more defined and will dominate the tech industry. Up to 21% of homes will become smart homes in 2021. AIoT will also be able to adjust in the cities and buildings.

Edge AI:

Another amazing concept is brought about by Artificial intelligence and the technology of the internet of things. Edge-AI is the technology of moving the decision-making process seamlessly and the provision of secure and analyzed data is the responsibility of edge AI as well. This is the pure blend of edge computing and artificial intelligence.

With the help of edge-AI, the smart devices would use AI algorithms and edge computing to come up with the data processing. This will be deployed to every smart gadget and device including mobiles, laptops, drones, robots, self-driven cars, and cameras, etc.

The total cost of AI:

Earlier, it was considered as only the tech giants can use the AI technology but now the startups and the small software initiatives can also look out for the deployment of Artificial intelligence. It is now more accessible to all the companies and they can use the tools of their choice along with the frameworks.

The projects that are powered by AI and ML are expected to grow tremendously. The companies are looking forward to integrating AI into their systems and making their processes go seamless.

Explainable AI:

Explainable AI is going to be in the trend of 2021 and is going to dominate for sure. The explainable AI would help the data scientists to create trust across all the companies and the merchandise that are dealing with the AI and ML projects. The model explainability will also be kept in front of AI experts.

The biggest artificial intelligence vendor, Google, has also offered the development tools and frameworks revolving around the concept of explainable AI. We are looking forward to seeing some more interesting projects that are based on the explainable modules of AI.

Quantum computing on rise:

If we say AI is here to stay — then it would definitely not be wrong. As we can see that along with AI, quantum computing is also on the rise. Here AI will combine with the quantum theory that revolves around the concept of computer technology and its principles. Both the technologies together are going to bring drastic changes.

With the increased demand for computer science and technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing are the most thriving technologies of the industry.

AI as the service:

The demand for AI is rapidly increasing. People are looking for the experts of AI and the professionals who can create custom AI projects so this is indirectly helping the artificial intelligence experts to rise in demand. These professionals are working to provide IT services as well.

Artificial intelligence will continue to thrive for a very long so if the students are going to opt for this career field, they are definitely going to land a bright future.

Parting Shot:

Artificial Intelligence will continue to dominate the world in 2021. It will soon take over every sector and industry and will continue to thrive.

Faraz Qureshi

Faraz Qureshi is one of the most eminent and exceptional content writers, who has been a part of the writing industry for quite some time now. He has also been associated with assignmentmaster.co.uk as a research analyst. He has the skills to mold the words that impress others immediately.

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