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Instagram’s Walkie Talkie

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Users can hold down the microphone button to record a short voice message that appears in the chat as an audio wave form that recipients can then listen to at their leisure. Voice messages are up to one-minute long, stay permanently listenable rather than disappearing and work in one-on-one and group chats on iOS and Android. The feature offers an off-camera asynchronous alternative to the video calling feature Instagram released in June. It will have to compete with Viber, Zello and Telegram, as well as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for the use case.

Fortnite & Video-Game Rehab For Kids

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“This game is like heroin,” said Lorrine Marer, a British behavioral specialist who works with kids battling game addiction. “Once you are hooked, it’s hard to get unhooked.”

It appears that Fortnite has become a widespread menace to parents and teachers alike.vAn online U.K. divorce service says 200 petitions cited Fortnite and other video games this year as the reason for the breakup of marriages.

Professional athletes are also hooked. The National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks had so much trouble getting players to meetings and dinners Fortnite was banned on the road. A star pitcher for Major League Baseball’s World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, was scratched from a May start against the archrival New York Yankees because of wrist problems that may have been exacerbated by Fortnite playing.

Some pro-baseball players are so obsessed with the game that they’ve hooked the game up to their stadium’s Jumbotron video system to play it while waiting to take batting practice.

There has been a surge in psychological counseling with teens and video games. At Reset Summer Camp for kids with addictions, about 60 percent of the 120 children last summer were playing Fortnite excessively. Treatment involves a technology detox — their devices are taken away — combined with healthy eating, sleep and group therapy. Next summer, enrollment will included more than twice as many kids, with additional locations in Texas, Indiana and New York.

Millennials & the Work force

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Millennials receive a lot of flack for the massive transformations occurring in business today. To baby boomers and older generations, the workforce is almost unrecognizable. The shift has been from a customer-centric to employee-centric experience and has redefined business strategies from the ground up.

Employers once was able to hook the best candidates with an attractive compensation package and upgrade in title. Today, the priorities have changed to focus more on development, transparency and work-life balance. Many companies are struggling to adapt and are facing a loss in top talent.

The barriers from the hierarchical cultures are being demolished and used as the foundation for the flat organizations’ that new generations crave . This isn’t the only change businesses are facing.

Soft skills have been slow to gain momentum in business as hard skills are easier to measure and identify. In recent years, businesses are refocusing their priorities from a “leave your personal life at home” mentality to understanding how to become more self-aware of their own emotions as well as their employees.

When employees feel valued and cared for, their motivation and job performance increases and retention decreases. If employers neglect the soft skills and only focus on the hard skills, it creates barriers in the relationship and risks tarnishing the morale of the company. Companies such as Google have this down pat. Their mindfulness training course helps teach employees skills that improve their emotional intelligence, decrease their stress and increase their communication.

Working from home is no longer a luxury but instead a requirement. While traditional 401K benefits are still popular, they’re not preferred. Instead, millennials want flexibility and the option for remote work. Employers like Yahoo implemented a remote work policy early on giving their employees the flexibility to be closer to their kids, ditch the commute and work from the comfort of their home.

A study last year revealed that an average of 41% of American workers don’t take a single vacation day.

Gen Z & the Workforce

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Gen Z is entering the workforce at a rapid pace, with the eldest of them now 23. A far larger group than their millennial counterparts, youth and young adults born between the mid-1990s and late 2000s have aptly been named Gen Z. Employers should be excited as a flood of talent will be joining the workforce soon — comprising 36 percent of the workforce by 2020 — but be aware, they have short attention spans, even shorter than millennials, and expect a lot from their employers.

According to a Deloitte study, Gen Z values employment that allows them to live a balanced lifestyle even more so than Millennials, with a greater emphasis on physical, mental and social well-being. They want flexibility and control within their schedules. For example, they want to be able to go to an afternoon doctor’s appointment without feeling like it reflects poorly on their work ethic. Employers must investigate providing flexible work hours, the ability to work from home when possible, and progressive benefit plans that include a Wellness Spending Account. Shopify, for example, offers a WSA that includes eligible spending categories such as gym memberships, financial planners and house cleaning.

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With this massive influx of new talent, the workplace is once again going to experience significant change.

Growing up with the Internet, teens are used to getting real-time feedback—and lots of it. Their education and co-curricular activities have also made them used to receiving constructive criticism and acting upon it to improve their chances of success.

“The big thing for employers to consider is that Gen Z actually wants to be mentored and managed,” says Tom Turpin, president of employment agency Randstad. “Gen Z places a tremendous amount of value on an employer’s ability to mentor and teach them.”

Gen Z, people born in 1995 and later, are protesters, social-justice marchers, and spendthrifts just like their hippie aunts, uncles, parents and even grandparents.

Demographers may debate the exact dates, but Baby Boomers were typically born between 1946 and 1964. Their parents grew up during the Depression and the nightly news brought into their living rooms images of a war fought in Southeast Asia.

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Compare that with Generation Z. Some of the first Gen Zers were teens and adolescents during the Great Recession of 2008. They saw their parents or the parents of their friends struggle with foreclosures and joblessness. Meanwhile, the country was waging a War on Terror against a nationless enemy.

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Are Gen Z and millennials ignoring you?

Gen Y versus Gen Z

Gen X versus Gen Y versus Gen Z - differences in the workplace

Traditional marketing doesn’t work for Gen Z. Marketers need to embrace technology and new ways of storytelling. According to an infographic from Upfront Analytics, Gen Z customers respond to edgy and visual marketing tactics. Videos—especially short ones like those created via the social network Vine—work particularly well with young customers.

How to market to the Gen Z teenager

The study revealed that 80 percent of Gen Z say finding themselves creatively is important. Over 25 percent post original video on a weekly basis, while 65 percent enjoy creating and sharing content on social media.

Generation Z are culture creators

 

Some Getting paid For Those Annoying Robo Calls

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There is a way you can make up to $1,500 for certain robocalls you get on your cell phone. You’re entitled to that money under federal law.

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7-Eleven is making more moves to go cashierless — or at least give customers the option to. Starting Monday, 14 stores in Dallas will have scan-and-go technology built in the company’s mobile app, so customers can scan and pay for items on their phones.

When shopping, customers scan barcodes of items and pay directly through their phones, either with a card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, applying any rewards to their purchases. Upon leaving these stores, customers scan a QR code in the store to confirm they paid.

It’s the latest big retailer to enable its own scan-and-go mobile capabilities, while giant companies like Amazon and Walmart-owned Sam’s Club go cashierless, where customers no longer even have the option to wait in line. Amazon is building out its line of AmazonGo stores and Sam’s Club opened its first cashierless store last week. As of now, cashiers are still present at 7-Elevens and still have to handle hot food items and items like alcohol that require ID to purchase.

 

Many Compainies Rushing To Adopt AI But Stumbling

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  • Companies that are rushing to embrace artificial intelligence technologies are running into big problems with their data.
  • Some companies don’t have enough data, others have it in disparate places, and still others don’t have it in a usable format.
  • Because of such challenges, some early adopters have abandoned AI projects.

AI generally requires lots of data. But it needs to be the right kind of data, in very particular kinds of formats. And it often needs it to be “clean,” including only the kind of information it needs and none of what it doesn’t

Data-related issues are collectively the biggest challenge companies face with AI, said Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer of Accenture.

All of that adds up to a big problem for many businesses. The biggest challenge most organizations face when they start thinking about AI is their data,” said Paul Daugherty, the chief technology and innovation officer of consulting firm Accenture, in an interview earlier this month. He says “Often we’re seeing that that’s the big area that companies need to invest in.” In a recent survey by consulting firm Deloitte, a plurality of executives at companies that are early adopters of AI ranked “data issues” as the biggest challenge they faced in rolling out the technology. Some 16% said it was the toughest problem they confronted with AI, and 39% said it ranked in the top three.

Some companies don’t have the data they need. Others have databases or data stores that aren’t in good shape to be tapped by AI. Still others are dealing with issues related to trying to keep their data secure or maintain users’ privacy as they prepare for it to be used by AI systems.

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