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The RPA Noise: The Long and Short of It – ReadWrite

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The topic of robots and automation was initially met with hysteria not so long ago. We had reports of robots stealing human jobs and other misinformation that was making the rounds. Cut to the present day, some of the fear remains — but the technology is here — in different forms or avatars (spelled bots, RPA, chatbots). Here is the long and short of the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) noise.

RPA has not created a meteoric crater yet, but what has it really been up to?

Robots and robotic process automation have been the hotbed of discussions for quite some time now.

Much is being said about bots and all the things it can impact. There is a fundamental difference between actual bots and robotic process automation.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic process automation is a software that claims to do the same as bots did, but virtually. Imagine tiny virtual bots working your digital world like Santa’s elves.

RPA, to be exact, automates business processes, not using actual robots but the software that does the work for it digitally. RPA will undertake tasks that would otherwise consume time, leaving employees to focus on more strategic, innovative thinking needed to meet the demands of quickly evolving markets.  

The terms “robotic process automation” and “artificial intelligence” are two unrelated technologies but often confused as one.  RPA “does” human-like work, while AI, “thinks and discerns” like humans.” Both technologies have yet to achieve their full potential.

First, let’s ask ourselves if this, in fact, is an important dialogue. Why would processes automated with robotics have any impact on us (‘us’ here is business)?

The answer is in three words; change, efficiency, and relevance.

Change signifies the adoption of emerging technologies that businesses need, to avoid becoming obsolete. As per Deloitte, close to 78% of businesses using RPA expect to invest heavily in the technology over the next three years. This shows a redirection from reliance on manpower for day to day tasks to intelligent machine and AI.

Efficiency is more palpable when tasks are thus allocated. Let’s take the example of physical robots. When bots work in collaboration with people, in a warehouse, productivity can shoot up to 500%. Similarly, when complex tasks like data entry, documentation, etc are done by RPA, the workforce is better equipped to focus on more productive pursuits.

Relevance is the very basis of its growing application. Remember, we have long foregone normalcy. COVID- 19 has alerted businesses. Apart from the death toll and health crisis worldwide, businesses probably suffered the worst backlash. For businesses, survival became necessary.

But how would they counter the absence of their workforce? Some of the workforce are working at 50 % capacity and some at 0. RPA saved the day for many.

RPA successfully automates the financial process, back office, data entry, customer service, insurance, and human resources. RPA easily fills the gaps for skill shortage.

The demand for RPA certification will see a monumental rise in the coming days according to experts. To answer the growing demand today, we also have a million RPA software available catering to different verticals and industries. Businesses can choose from a generation of Top RPA tools.

Custom Robotic Services

The software is basking in glory because of the quick acceptance and implementation in a growing number of industries and areas within them.

Benefits and changes using RPA

Marketing: It easily undertakes marketing processes like lead nurturing, automates sales procedures, creating and delivering invoices, business intelligence reporting, customer journey tracking, etc. for example, RPA facilitates effective streamlining of digital ad positioning by up to 80%. 

It beguilingly takes care of customer engagement so the marketing team can apply their energies on other tasks. The software applies AI/ML to the marketing funnel and customer experience.

Customer Service: A very recent study states that 68% of service leaders have implied that bots and VCAs will be increasingly adopted in the next two years. RPA will automate generating invoices, processing payments, automated email communication, discovering and discerning data, and processing forms, and screen-scraping, to name a few.

In some cases, RPA implementation has supplanted quicker than expected results, giving up to 15% returns on investments (ROI). The software is cost-effective, increases customer happiness quotient, offers personalized services, and optimizes resources.

Finance: More than 50% of companies are seeking out a 360-degree digital transformation of their controller operations, according to a recent Deloitte poll of close to 1,700 finance and accounting professionals. 

With the sharpening dependency on RPA, companies are now able to automate more than 50 financial processes with bots becoming faster and more adaptive.

Bots can be used to automate banking tasks like KYC, loan processing and documentation, bank statements, financial planning and more.

HR: The adoption of RPA in Human Resources is relatively new but nevertheless, met with equal enthusiasm from businesses. Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey 2019- 2020 study states that the use of RPA tools in HR functions increased by 50 percent over the preceding year’s study. 

It automates processes like talent search, employment history authentication, hiring and onboarding, payroll, absence management, etc. This, in turn, allows HR personnel to dedicate time to the actual employee and business-related issues.

RPA is all set to restructure globalization. With most businesses turning to digitalization, as becomes the pressing need (read- global pandemic), RPA has become the norm. RPA is also redefining the way we do business.  A progressive technology at heart, it is not without its challenges, from creation to implementation.

Challenges

We may be experiencing the fourth industrial revolution of sorts. And digital technologies are being touted as the flag bearers. RPA is at the forefront, with the promise of the fastest growth metric in the coming decade.

What this necessitates, is a look at how well we are familiar with the system, and how far up has it come in successful adoptions. If it has, in fact, lived up to all the noise made.

We listed a few instances where RPA has seamlessly ingratiate itself with existing systems. But all hasn’t been smooth sailing for this software, nor for stakeholders involved.

The Cost Factor

Now we know that implementing RPA wasn’t so easy. Cost first. It was an expensive technology. Things are changing now, and RPA costs are scaling down with the increase in demand. But is it still simmered down enough for all budgets, and if so, at what cost?

The first issue here is, with millions of products available today, a business may find something that may fit right in with their investment budget. This would mean some compromise at the feature end. But that is the case with any software purchase today. However, RPA needs a readjustment at different levels once it is adopted.

Implementing something that may not completely answer your main issue would be detrimental rather than profitable.

The second dilemma, and the one at the core, is flagging investments. Our present economy has been hit so hard that many companies have gone steep on their investment allocation.

They are careful with risks. At a time like this, when automation is necessary but also uncertain due to its naiveté, fears control business buying decisions more than anything. This is also amplified by an acute shortage of funds.

Process Choice

One of the biggest problems businesses encounter is the decision to choose the right process to automate. Imagine the waste of resources and time if RPA is used to automating processes that do not add value to the business. This remains a common predicament.

A successful RPA initiative requires a sound business strategy, backed by sufficient finance and ongoing scaling of performance and results.

A PwC research infers that an RPA pilot project can take anything between four to six months as opposed to the projected four to six weeks. You see the substantial difference here, between RPA in theory and practice. But what governs this problem is the process choice.

Businesses need to have a strategy in place before adopting RPA. Just having RPA on board that does not reverberate through impactful business processes is meaningless.

The ultimate aim of RPA is to give you optimized efficiency. Moving tasks that took two minutes manually to 20 seconds, for instance, is a great upgrade.

Dealing with Complexities

Another essential thing about RPA is that it is not yet evolved to take upon more advanced cognitive tasks. So processes with many levels of complexities may throw your bot off.

Bots are limited by the tasks ingrained in them, created to work in a consolidated and highly systematic atmosphere. When met with unstructured elements, they do not respond. This would be like driving your sedan through the Sahara.

Higher Post Implementation Maintenance and Concerns

As much as we want to achieve autonomy over the work process through bots, having and maintaining them is another point of contention in implementing them. It is not the goose laying golden eggs. Bots on board means increased efficiency.

Of course. So we naturally gravitate towards more processes to be automated. But RPA maintenance, checking and monitoring their upkeep so work can move smoothly, can be a daunting process that may need additional consideration, time, and cost.

The bot also needs to mold as per the changing process of the business. Here your vendor needs to provide you with RPA solutions that are highly scalable and customized for your business. Though some vendors do provide a level of adaptation to such changes, the majority of the solutions available may still be fraught by limitations.

Many organizations using RPA have struggled with other issues like

  •   Having better control and understanding over bot behavior and how to direct them.
  •    RPA can still process very simple and immature operations
  •    Lack of better and more robust reporting capabilities

Irrespective of the drawbacks, RPA adoption continues to march forward. As it does, it will alter the fabric of business, customer engagement and behavior. We take a sneak peek into the future.

Future of RPA: The Rise of the Digital Workers

Nothing precedes or comes beyond the word of the customer. Digital economies have given heightened importance to customer experience. RPA, with its ability to deal with data management, is at the center of all data-driven decisions, and metrics that will contribute to it.

Look at retail, for example. Almost all retail processes can today be automated. For the sake of listing; back office, billing invoicing, data entry to the front office, store planning, trade promotions, etc. and it can achieve up to 98% accuracy in retails as per current studies.

RPA can overturn blocks that were existent earlier. Repeat orders, abandoned carts, loyalty program management. RPA may also be able to facilitate a direct address to consumer complaints, returns and exchanges. All of this constitutes excellent customer experience.

AI + RPA

There is a lot of talk of AI going on. The emerging technology has almost entered every business, and conjunct with other technologies to provide game-changing consumer experience, business operations, and more. RPA + AI will be the new intelligent RPA. These will be the new age “digital workers.”

Forbes predicts that in the coming years, more than 40% of enterprises will create state-of-the-art digital workers by combining AI with RPA.

They will come with advanced cognitive and analytical abilities like to act, perceive, make decisions, and make extremely calculated predictions. They will view data as “experience” and will be able to identify the emotion. This will take customer engagement to a completely different level.

Tomorrow holds the promise of newness and reinventing and countering RPA weaknesses too. A big problem that we presented here is RPA’s inflexibility. The latest research and expert talk discuss the answers in the form of low code. Low code is a joint forum for developers and businesses to manage bot behavior and accommodate readiness to change. What it will fruit, in reality, remains to be seen.

Conclusion

Our status quo with Covid -19 is supposedly the best launchpad for RPA. It provides the system to successfully permeate the market.  At the same time, this urgency has become the enemy.  We find RPA at a nascent stage, still evolving and advancing.

It may be able to do all and more. Many companies are still ill-prepared to progressively adopt the system. The software, however, is in a state of unfolding, adapting, and synergizing. The future is filled with endless possibilities.

The question is do we have the patience. And more importantly, can we afford the patience? Pandemic or no pandemic, technologies like RPA, AI, ensure that businesses will never be the same again. 

Anand Mahajan

CEO

Anand Mahajan is the Founder & CEO of Sphinx Solutions, he is driven to propel creativity and tech innovation with an eye towards the future of a grand digital experience. After completing his masters from a reputed university, Anand started Sphinx Solutions and continues to successfully guide and help more than 100 startups. His futuristic vision allows him to expertly don many hats, and evolve new approaches to technology and management. His brand has cut a niche for itself in developing apps in the field of AI, Blockchain, Mobile, Web, and Software.

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How Blockchain Is Being Used With Smart Buildings – ReadWrite

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Saul Bowden


Whether you realize it or not, many of us live in buildings with some smart capacity. You probably have at least one smart device in your home.

With the smart device industry set to grow by $65 billion by 2024, the odds are, you’ll add more of these devices. The true potential of smart homes lies in the ability of smart devices to communicate together — and that’s where blockchain technology comes in.

How Blockchain is Being Used With Smart Buildings

On the surface, smart technologies make individual tasks easier, but the potential is much larger than that. A smart device is effectively a sensor able to collect significant amounts of data about everything, from your energy use to how well-stocked your fridge is.

Smart Technology Works Better in Swarms

On its own, this data is valuable; when combined with data from other devices, its usability becomes game-changing. A properly connected smart home would be able to automatically adjust the heating to your preferences while minimizing bills, ordering your favorite groceries, monitoring and adjusting energy usage, sending repair notifications if something breaks, and much more.

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are already used extensively in supply chain management. They help efficiently manage products passed through multiple stakeholders and verify that products are what the label says they are.

Catching Slave Labor in Fishing Supply Chains

One example where smart technology has been useful is in tracking fishing supply chains. The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has used IoT to track sustainable tuna fishing.

The Western and Central Pacific tuna trade is rife with illegal fisheries — and, in some cases, slave labor — because tracking is either done via an easily-forged paper trail or not at all. However, savvy consumers and brands are demanding more accountability from the tuna industry.

The WWF’s branches in New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji have combined forces with blockchain software studio ConsenSys to implement secure traceability and track to address the problem.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) or QR codes capture information as a fish moves through the supply chain from the boat to grocers. Tracking information is automatically saved in blockchain, making it nearly impossible to forge.

Privacy and Compatibility Remain a Concern

Although smart technology has many uses in enterprise settings, it becomes a thornier prospect for individuals. IoT devices collect huge amounts of data which can reveal a lot about their owners. Additionally, they are often poorly secured, creating significant security challenges.

Most smart devices must run on centralized platforms controlled by major tech companies, notably Amazon and Google.

There have been significant privacy concerns about both companies due to their access to an extraordinary amount of personal data.

Amazon Alexa’s Vulnerabilities

Setting aside concerns about microphones, Amazon’s voice-activated assistant Alexa also presents other significant security concerns.

Although Amazon provides some privacy protections, with 100 – 200 million Alexa devices and over 100,000 skills already deployed, there is a significant concern about malicious developers taking advantage of security holes.

For example, developer names aren’t verified, allowing a malicious developer to stage a phishing attack posing as a different company. This risk is especially high with some skills that link to email, banking, or social media accounts.

After a skill has been approved and added to the marketplace, a malicious developer can change its coding without getting Amazon’s approval or notifying the customer. Many developers also have misleading privacy policies — or none at all, meaning that customers will have no idea how their personally identifiable information will be used.

Lack of Device Compatibility

The second challenge is compatibility. Early adopters are painfully familiar with the concept of device divorce, where two smart devices cannot speak with another. Part of the problem is that Amazon and Google are used as primary smart home controllers, and there isn’t a platform-agnostic solution widely available to most consumers.

Blockchain Technology is the Missing Piece of the Puzzle

Blockchain technologies are working to provide the solution to these challenges and others since they can enable P2P connections without the need for a centralized validator.

With blockchain, it would be possible to connect numerous smart devices without being forced to hand that data directly over to the device manufacturer, mitigating privacy and security concerns. It can also provide increased transparency over how data is used, helping users understand what data their smart home is collecting and what it’s used for.

Blockchain technology is also hardware agnostic. Thus, it would be possible for users to pair together devices from different manufacturers without worrying about compatibility.

IOTA’s Tangle vs. Traditional Blockchain

One of the best examples of this vision is the IoT-focused blockchain IOTA.

It is important to understand that we are not talking about financial blockchain technology like Bitcoin. Blockchains based on traditional Proof of Work (PoW), like Bitcoin, lack the speed and scalability necessary to process the millions of data points produced by smart devices.

Instead, we are looking at smart device-focused technologies, most notably IOTA. IOTA uses a Tangle specifically designed for data and value transfer.

Blockchains like Bitcoin are essentially long chains of blocks containing transactions. The Tangle, on the other hand, is constructed as a directed acyclic graph (DAG), which is a collection of vertices connected by edges.

Eliminating Validators

IOTA’s implementation is designed in such a way that each new transaction (vertice) must approve two previous transactions when it enters the Tangle. This eliminates the need for Proof of Stake (PoS) or PoW consensus methods.

Because these transactions don’t require always-online validators, they are feeless and contain metadata that makes them suitable for micropayments and data transfer.

IOTA’s Partnerships

IOTA is interesting because the technology is more mature than many other IoT-focused blockchain solutions. The project has experienced past problems, but the roll-out of its improved Tangle has allowed it to secure some important partnerships, primarily in areas designed to improve transparency.

Properly Validating Smart Device Data Is The First Step

IOTA’s most important partnership for smart homes is undoubtedly Project Alvarium. The biggest challenge posed by IoT — and smart devices in general — is the sheer volume of data collected. The vastness of information makes assessing what data is trustworthy and useful difficult, especially in an automated environment.

To solve this problem, Dell and IOTA teamed up to create Project Alvarium, designed to provide a simple way to assess the trustworthiness of data gathered.

Project Alvarium’s system logs every datapoint as it travels across the system. Each interaction is given a trust rating, which is logged on the IOTA Tangle to prevent tampering. This provides a simple way to find problems or deliberate tampering within a network of data.

Blockchain Can Help Resolve Security Concerns About Smart Security

When smart home users are certain that they can trust the data being generated by their devices, it opens up a world of opportunities that could transform our daily lives.

The most immediate use of blockchain technology is in improving building security. The most high-profile problem is undoubtedly Amazon’s Ring. In late 2020, dozens of people sued Amazon over accusations that their Ring doorbells had been breached.

The breach enabled hackers to watch people inside their homes and talk to individuals in the house over the Ring speakers.

Additionally, the product’s privacy policy is porous and allows Amazon to share video and microphone data with numerous third parties, removing any expectation of privacy.

The Blockchain Difference

Blockchain has been shown to resolve both the problem of data breaches as well as hacking takeovers. Capturing a blockchain-powered device would require compromising the entire blockchain itself compromised.

But proper validation, such as that proposed by IOTA, allows malicious devices to be pruned from the network, significantly improving security.

Additionally, blockchain could enable consumers to understand how their data is being used, helping to make smart devices more privacy-focused.

Smart Building Management Solutions are Already Being Tested

The value of blockchain technology becomes even bigger at scale. One of the most impactful uses of IoT and blockchain technology is in building management. Whether for an apartment building or an office building, it’s often difficult to effectively manage a building’s heating, lighting, and security in a way that minimizes waste.

Example: How Blockchain Could Manage Heating Bills

In a traditional setting, most buildings are managed centrally. If there is a unified heating system, it is often controlled by the local administration. Although this system is more efficient than individually-heated buildings, there is significant room for human error. That’s because the system is not optimized to account for more efficient heating higher up in the building as heat rises.

A network of heating sensors could be used to automatically measure the temperature in each apartment or office in a building. If the different thermostats could communicate with each other, it should be possible to input all the data into a blockchain solution.

A scheme like this would allow the building operators to create a proper heat map of the building and understand the most efficient usage of energy. It would also enable residents to access the data and understand why the system works the way it does.

Theoretically, it could also enable a user to select a target temperature for their apartment by leveraging rising heat from lower apartments.

Solutions on the Horizon

This kind of project is already being tested. For example, Brickschain offers several products that minimize difficulties with building management and handover on sale. There are also an increasing number of studies looking at how blockchain can be positively implemented into the building management process.

The Future of IoT: Many-to-Many Marketplaces

When buildings are utilizing IoT devices and blockchains, a bigger opportunity opens up: decentralized marketplaces.

Currently, it can be difficult to get the best deal on energy or heating bills because it is a marketplace with many customers but only a few providers. Switching providers can be difficult and doesn’t guarantee a competitive rate.

However, with blockchain, it would be possible to change providers based on real-time pricing data. This setup would create a competitive many-to-many environment where many providers are looking to sell energy to many customers. The competition among providers would drive down energy prices and improve overall efficiency in energy markets.

Swedish District Heating Study

Sweden has conducted studies to investigate the utility of blockchain for a district heating market. The setup allows apartment blocks already utilizing blockchain to automatically select the most affordable provider at any given moment, minimizing bills without requiring micromanagement.

The same concept could be applied to many aspects of building management.

Decentralized Governance

One interesting idea is the concept of decentralized governance. This type of network could empower tenants and apartment owners to vote on changes to their apartment block’s management proceedings.

For example, renters could vote in favor of using only green energy sources or for changes to living space regulations. Building administrators could then better understand their occupants’ needs and create a better living environment for all involved.

Blockchain Will be Needed to do IoT Correctly

Adoption of IoT and smart technologies will likely increase. Governments like the UK are already pushing hard on smart meters and many of us have already adopted some form of smart technology in our homes.

This rush to adopt new technology will undoubtedly come with significant scaling problems as well as security concerns and significant privacy issues.

Additionally, a market dominated by a handful of major tech companies like Amazon and Google could prove damaging to the consumer in the long term.

To counter these eventualities, we’ll need a platform-agnostic solution that allows a more diverse field of producers to create new IoT devices.

Blockchain technology still represents the best way to utilize IoT for everyone’s benefit. If solutions like IOTA are implemented into existing smart homes, then we could build a new decentralized marketplace that will give us better control of our data, while improving the efficiency of our homes.

Image Credit: pixabay; thank you!

Saul Bowden

Saul writes about tech & business, he’s covered everything from cryptocurrency to the oil & gas industry. He spends time working with start-ups and writes for commodity.com.

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Social Sign-on: Sure, it’s convenient. But is it really safe? – ReadWrite

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Remembering passwords is always a hassle, especially when you have innumerable websites that require logging in to view or interact with their content. To make the process simpler (as little as a couple of clicks), webmasters worldwide have accepted and implemented social logins on their websites.

Social Sign-on: Sure, it’s convenient. But is it really safe?

So, what exactly is social login? How different is it compared to the traditional method of inputting your credentials such as username, email address and password manually? More importantly, is it safe enough for use on all kinds of browsing activities?

Disadvantages of Social Sign-On

In this article, we answer all the above questions and more, helping you understand what social sign-on is, and what the disadvantages of this convenient method are.

The history of social logins

Social sign-on as a method of hassle-free authentication has been around for over a decade now. Back in the nascent days of the modern internet in 2008, Facebook launched Facebook Connect, a service aimed at simplifying registrations on websites.

Once webmasters enabled FB Connect on their websites, visitors to the site would no longer need to fill up lengthy registration forms to sign up for the website’s offerings.

All they needed to do was connect their existing Facebook account to the website, enabling direct access to the site with a click of a button.

In 2009 and 2010, Twitter and LinkedIn respectively enabled their users to socially login to other sites using their existing social network credentials.

Google+ followed suit in 2011, and although no longer active as Google+, it still supports social sign-on using a Google account.

While it all sounds very convenient, social sign-on has many drawbacks and challenges that impact both website visitors and website owners.

Social Sign-on: The challenges and disadvantages

The Trust Factor

Most internet users do not trust the websites they browse to store and utilize their personal information safely and responsibly. Often, website visitors are concerned about how the information they have shared will be used.

In a June 2020 survey conducted by Insider Intelligence, 32% of US Facebook users felt that they somewhat disagreed that the platform could keep their data and privacy secure.

Not everyone has the time or patience to read the data handling and privacy policy put forth by a website, so they simply choose to be cynical of the data they share on such sites.

Data Accuracy

People tend to be wary of the private information they share online; they often resort to uploading falsified or inaccurate information about themselves on social media.

Considering that these social media sites do not verify or vouch for the authenticity of their user’s information, this could be less than ideal for a website looking for accurate data while accepting new user registrations.

In 2019, Facebook released data that said that 16% of the accounts on its platform are fake/duplicate accounts created by individuals or companies. What’s more worrisome are the findings of the research team at NATO StratCom that suggest 95% of the reported fake accounts still continued to remain active, with no action taken by the social media website.

With no checks on the actual profile that’s being used to socially sign-on to your website, you could soon have an imposter, Donald Trump or Joe Biden signing up for your global warming newsletter or purchasing a bag of your freshly powdered Mexican coffee.

Not everyone’s social — nor on social

While we talk about social media, we need to understand that although it is a global phenomenon with an insanely large number (read 3.6 billion) of people using it, there is still a sizeable chunk (>50%) of the population that is not on social media.

Using a restrictive method, you risk alienating a section of society that could be your potential target audience.

Transfer of Power

Enabling social sign-on seems pretty enticing at first, considering it would cut down your authentication work significantly. But this very ‘benefit’ could end up costing you dearly, as you lose control over your visitors’ data to a third-party service provider, i.e., the social media network.

Should there be any downtime at the social media service’s end, your website visitors would be stranded, unable to login to your site or access their data?

Access Control Issues

Many internet access places tend to have controls in place when it comes to accessing social media. For example, corporate and educational networks generally block access to social websites. Certain countries like Iran, China, Syria, and North Korea have blanket bans on the most popular social websites.

Social sign-on still depends on an API call-back to the social networking site to authenticate the user. Thus, by having social sign-on set up on your website, visitors authenticating on your site through these networks would end up facing a website with broken functionality.

Security concerns

Social media accounts are often the target of several hacking and phishing attempts. Thus, if your user’s social media account is hacked, it could lead to their account on your site being compromised as a result.

A University of Maryland study revealed a hacking attempt every 39 seconds on average, affecting a third of Americans every year.

Hacked social accounts could have an adverse impact on your website as well, by performing activities that might eat up your server resources or corrupt your files, if your security is not up to the mark. Secure authentication is the need of the hour, and knowledge of the security practices will help solve these concerns.

Too much to choose

People use many social media websites, so keeping a single social login can be counterproductive. However, providing multiple methods to login could likely confuse or overwhelm your visitor, leading to lower conversion or sign-up rates.

Lesser data to work with

Using a social sign-on for your website would mean limited access to user data, especially email. Not every social media network allows websites to access the customer’s email address. For businesses that rely on customer information for lead generation, this would be a major deal-breaker.

Awareness of all the security practices and malpractices (sawolabs dotcom) will help educate users as well as the website owners.

If not social sign-on, then what?

All the above drawbacks would make webmasters question the efficacy of social sign-on. But then, is there a better alternative that does not include such shortcomings?

Say hello to passwordless authentication powered by SAWO Labs. A new-age solution designed to address all concerns of security, compatibility and functionality.

Image Credit: yellow graphic — from author; thank you!

 Top Image Credit: karolina grabowska; pexels; thank you!

Akshay Shetye

Akshay Shetye

“SAWO – Secure Authentication Without OTP – is a B2B2C service-based company whose API Integration enables one-tap authentication on your app (Android, iOS) and web to provide a passwordless and OTP-less authentication experience. We are a secure, sustainable, and cost-effective solution to making a business passwordless and OTP-less.”

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3 Ways Companies Can Be More Sustainable – ReadWrite

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Eric Lander


I’m thinking about our planet today — I think about our planet every day. Our planet is hurting, and many businesses are encouraging their employees to live more sustainably. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industry and agriculture account for approximately 32 percent of direct emissions.

3 Ways Companies Can Be More Sustainable

Here are a few ways companies can encourage sustainability in their employees and work to lower the remaining 68 percent.

Employ a hybrid work model

With so many people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve inadvertently been doing Earth a huge favor. The EPA shows that transportation is responsible for 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, with about half of that coming from personal vehicles that burn gasoline and diesel. Because many companies instituted a work from home policy, there were fewer cars on the road and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Companies can continue this progress by instituting a hybrid work model once the pandemic is finally over.

Reduce waste in the office

One big way to reduce waste in the office is by offering snack and drink options that eliminate single-use plastic. For example, TechnologyAdvice uses a Bevi machine in the office, offering still, sparkling, and flavored water without single-use plastic. You might also consider snacks that don’t need to be individually packaged, like fruits or nuts.

While you may not be able to completely eliminate office waste, you can work to offset the waste you do generate. Make it easy for employees to recycle and encourage them to do so. You can create an employee-led recycling program, keep an “I don’t know” bin for those items that don’t always fall into the normal categories, and create challenges around recycling goals.

Continual education about climate change

However you decide to encourage sustainability in your office, it’s important that both you and your employees engage in continual education about climate change. Thanks to the different forms of media available today, educating yourself about climate change has never been easier.

For podcast listeners, consider checking out How To Save A Planet. It’s a Spotify original podcast hosted by scientist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and journalist Alex Blumberg, and it is the exact opposite of what people think when they hear “climate change resource:” it’s inspiring instead of depressing, entertaining, so accessible, and has great intro music.

Another Earth-friendly podcast you should listen to is Stories for Earth, which examines how climate change is discussed in pop culture.

If you like documentaries, check out Before the Flood, which was made by Leonardo Di Caprio and National Geographic. If you are a reader, consider these three: No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg, All We Can Save edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katherine Hayhoe, and The Future Earth by Eric Holthaus.

Image Credit: karolina grabowska; pexels; thank you!

Eric Lander

Content Writer

Eric Lander serves as the Director of Audience Development for TechnologyAdvice, a full-service B2B media company that engages technology buyers through websites, email newsletters, and phone conversations. Lander, a father of children with speech and language impairments, currently resides in Topsail, North Carolina.

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