Technological advancements shape all industries — so how have they affected the legal industry? Many law firms, like the team at Boone & Davis, use a variety of new tech tools to work with and many of these tools can help smaller firms compete with larger firms.
1. Social Media Advertising
Many law firms are turning to social media in addition to their content marketing to reach out to local clients. Social media advertising is a very effective way for law firms to establish their credibility within a particular area of expertise. Law firms can also interact directly with potential clientele in this way, coaxing them in with questions and providing them resources and answers based on their issues. Social media advertising usually takes a significant amount of time, but it’s a very cost-effective form of marketing.
2. Cloud Solutions
More than half of the firms today are now using some form of cloud solution. Cloud solutions allow companies to be truly agile, with all partners and employees able to connect to a single resource from anywhere in the world. Cloud solutions are also scalable; they can be upgraded and improved with the click of a button. And there are many other advantages, such as the ability to easily backup and keep redundant copies. However, there is one major problem that law firms face when dealing with the cloud, and that is security. Without a properly secured solution, a cloud network can easily be breached — and this could lead to a large amount of personal and confidential information being leaked.
3. Mobile Technology Use
Smartphones, such as BlackBerries and iPhones, are being increasingly used as tools for law firms. Mobile technology keeps everyone connected while on the go and makes it easier to service clients who may be far away. Smartphones are becoming so incredibly powerful that they are now able to operate almost like computers — tablets have similar applications and uses. Many law firms are now using smartphones and tablets for what they once would have used more cumbersome laptops for. This has also led to the widespread adoption of mobile device management protocols to ensure that these devices remain secured, as they are also often used for personal tasks in addition to work activities.
4. Online Research
Many law firms are using online research to supplement their physical resources. Of course, a simple “Google search” usually isn’t applicable to law — there are companies that specialize in creating online resources and archives for legal firms. These resources are usually available for a fee structure based on the amount of employees within the firm. Employees of legal firms must be cautious regarding where they get their information from, as there is a significant amount of misinformation and outdated information available on the Internet.
5. Video Conferencing Features
Video conferencing is perhaps one of the largest ways in which the legal industry has changed from day-to-day, as it enables the legal firm to meet with clients anywhere in the world much easier. Mobile phones can only do so much. It can be difficult for a client to accurately convey their situation or for a legal team to brief them on information without having a visual aid. Furthermore, advanced video conferencing allows branches to connect with each other distantly, enabling them to share training resources. This can greatly reduce the budget of a legal firm.
Though legal firms are rapidly catching up to current technology, the legal industry — especially smaller firms — have often been hesitant to pick up technology for security and training reasons. Firms that are able to successfully navigate these waters will have a remarkable selling point to clients and be able to compete even more effectively.
Tara Averill is really making a name for herself. She forged through a personal experience and shared a solution with the general public. Her new cell phone application, Splitsville, is helping people all over the world who are trying to live happier, healthier lives.
The negative stigma attached to divorce often adds to an already unhappy situation. Well, now there’s an app for that! According to Vogue Magazine, Splitsville takes a lot of the drudgery out of divorce by apping a new perspective that focuses on the brighter side of a traditionally dark subject. Instead of getting down and out, this app allows you to get up and move on.
Many family law and divorce attorneys like the team at GKLegal.com rightfully point out that divorce is more than just the end of a relationship; it is also a continuation of life. One shared life can continue into two separate and equally happy ones. Splitsville has so many benefits for anyone who is divorcing or ending any kind of entangled relationship.
Tips, Advice, and Experience
Splitsville subscribers help one another with the trials and tribulations of ending a relationship. You can join anonymously and freely explore your options without any hovering little black rain clouds of guilt or exposure. You can get advice about how to move out, where to move, how to handle issues with children or pets once you do move, and subjects that may never even occur to you, like how to decorate your new place to promote a particular mood. You may be able to learn from others’ mistakes and avoid making some of your own. Get lawyer recommendations or advice on how the two of you can save money and split on amicable terms. The focus is positive living and not negative retribution.
Spare your Friends and Relatives
One of the biggest issues with people who are going through a break up is that nobody wants to hear about it. Most people, even friends and family, like to focus on their happiness and don’t want anyone contaminating it with their failures. They are just glad it’s not them. When relationships change, so do the friendships and relations that came with them. Instead of choosing sides, friends and family can enjoy a more neutral position. Splitsville is an opportunity to share and discuss what is weighing on your mind. You can get or give comfort just by listening and unburdening with other subscribers. Sometimes it’s about peace of mind and people who share similar situations can provide that for one another.
Those seeking to separate from a partner are not the only subscribers to Splitsville. Some are people who want to improve or maintain the relationship they have. You can learn how to keep your ship afloat by understanding how other ships capsize or are sunk by the people floating in them. You can keep your relationship honest and use Splitsville to help you sidetrack otherwise unforeseen pitfalls.
Splitsville takes the traditional negative connotation out of divorce or separation and makes it a much more modern and socially accepted situation. It faces it from a more realistic perspective and connects you to feasible, sensible solutions, and people who can understand and relate.
Wearable technology is being heralded as the wave of the future, but many attorneys are reluctant to invest time in learning about these new inventions. Like many new innovations, it is entirely possible that wearables like the Fitbit and Google Glass will go through many iterations before they are perfect and work without bugs or issues.
But early adoption of this new technology can help professionals put themselves at the forefront of any industry, even one that is not related to wearable technology in any way.
Some attorneys have already begun using Google Glass wherever possible in their law firms. While many of the functions available on Google Glass are just as easily performed on a smart phone, adopting the technology early helps to iron out any kinks and get comfortable well before using the glasses is the norm.
There is also a marketing element at play with Google Glass in particular. The glasses are noticeable and have a distinct look and shape, making them easy for prospective clients to identify.
There are many positive connotations that clients can make about an attorney who is pioneering a new technology. In addition to being on the cutting edge of what is happening, most clients will view an attorney that wears Google Glass as someone who is plugged in to technology at all times and likely to return calls and emails quickly.
Then there is the time factor.
Obviously an invention like Google Glass gives an attorney many handy functions, including the ability to take photos of a crime or accident scene, easy access to emails and fast ways to check facts within existing depositions and documents.
Combining the ability to take deposition videos, check case law and find directions to a client’s home already offers a valuable time savings for any attorney. While the initial period of getting used to the glasses may take some time. online videos have already proven that even senior citizens can get used to the technology very quickly.
Getting familiar with Google Glass now will give certain attorneys a leg up once the court decides to allow the tool inside the courtroom. The future possibilities for the use of this technology inside the courtroom are vast and have the potential to change the practice of law.
For example, attorneys may be able to use the real time conference functions on the Google Glass to have body language experts and jury consultations weigh in during the process of jury selection.
While the most amazing features of Google Glass are still a dream, now is the time for attorneys to begin experimenting with and adopting the wearable technology. By wearing the glasses around the home or office, you can get a better feel for how and when they are appropriate to wear outside, and eventually to the office.
Insurance premiums fluctuate annually or every 6 months. It boggles the mind to consider what daily fluctuations would do to the consumer’s wallet if wrist monitors determined diet, pulse and heart rate along with other important health factors that vary day by day. Greater health monitoring would naturally put the gadgets in a gray area on privacy. They would be beyond giving doctors deeper access to your data, to giving health payers, the big name insurers like Aetna, Kaiser Foundation and also self-insured employers, open access to data creating detailed risk profiles on insureds and put a lid on cost. Some independent health insurance agencies are excited that wearable tech may help lower premiums for some of their clients.
Tech entrepreneurs in the health space say insurance companies are currently figuring how to best access the data generated by today’s fitness trackers.
“They don’t have the solution,” says Florian Gschwandtner, founder and CEO of the popular running app Runtastic. Gschwandtner held several meetings with U.S. and Austrian company insurers last year, before he understood they weren’t looking to partner him, but wanted advice getting access to fitness data generated by apps like his company. He no longer takes such meetings
Kelly Barnes, insurer consultant, who tracks healthcare for PricewaterhouseCoopers, says regular feedback from wearables would be valuable to health insurance companies. “I’m very confident we’re all going to be on insurance marketplaces in the near future,” she adds.
Tracking “gadgets” already play a role in car insurance for some Americans. Progressive, for instance, offers drivers a small device they can plug it into vehicle instrument panels so the company can monitor their driving over 30 days. Safe drivers are then eligible for a discount.
Barnes argues that insurers could do the same thing with health care, especially since a large portion of today’s $2.6 trillion health care bill is driven by at-risk behavior such as bad-diet choices that lead clients to obesity and diabetes. The concept is simple. The healthier people live, the lower their premiums go.
“I can see health care going that way,” added Barnes. “If you can take this wearable and I can see a constant level of activity and constant parameters on fitness activities, I’ll take points off your premium. I can set rates on a daily basis as opposed to just once a year.”
Individual premiums typically increase annually as older people are deemed more costly to the system. Insurers make these decisions based on aggregate profiles that include gender and age. But wearable devices could define more exacting definitives as sensors pick up details of an insured’s heart rate and stress levels.
The next generations of devices like the Fitbit, Google Glass or Jawbone Up are already preparing to play a bigger role in how individual-and-group health insurance costs are decided, tech developers and experts in the healthcare space have told Forbes, thanks to the growing data they’re generating about our bodies.
Today only one out of every 10 American adults own a fitness tracker, but these devices should grow much more widespread over the next decade alongside an explosion of sensors that can monitor everything from a person’s steps, his breathing to his heart rate, and apps that can sense the onset of chronic illnesses or stress. In the meantime, more employers are opting to monitor data generated by fitness trackers to the extent they can see it on a dashboard, and are holding their insured staff to account with rewards as part of an increasing number of alleged corporate-wellness programs.
Some are even exploring financial punishments for unhealthy behavior monitored by a wearable device. With health insurance costs on the rise, it’s not surprising that Fitbit’s sales to employers are now one of the fastest growing parts of its business.
A variety of technological innovations, such as smartphones and tablets, have proven to help improve the productivity of insurance field employees and property risk engineers. But aside from those gadgets, there is one other recent innovation that has the ability to offer enhanced productivity and, at the same time, give its users hands-free connectivity and access to massive computing power. It will allow that user to easily take down notes, compile photos of and collaborate with a remote specialist in the field. And not to mention that it is one more step further into human integration, portability and miniaturization. The piece of technology I’m talking about is the new Google Glass.
Google Glass has produced a lot of hype, and it’s actually gained mixed reviews from the masses. But still, a lot of industries are exploring the ways of how this gadget can help make jobs easier and more efficient. In the healthcare industry, for example, Google Glass can enable doctors and nurses to gain mobile access to patient information so that they can learn more about their patients’ cases without having to read their charts. And in banking, execs are trying to look at different ways on how this little piece of technology can be used to improve customer transactions like depositing and withdrawing money and completing payments.
That said, one insurance agent I spoke to says it’s high time that insurance companies consider what advantages Google Glass can offer them. And it actually can help in a lot of different ways. Google Glass can minimize the list of items claims adjusters and risk engineers carry to a certain scene, they can be provided with survey guidelines to ensure they don’t leave anything out during surveys, and they can also take photos and videos or take down notes via voice command, enabling them to do perform other tasks with their hands. A video conference can also be done between them and remote specialists, allowing specialists participate in risk surveys and view scenes first hand that could help them easily come to a decision. When this happens, insurers can do away with multiple site visits, enabling them to quickly turn their focus on their risk survey reports.
Apart from aiding in surveys, Google Glass can also help in the submission of claims. Customers will be able to share a first-hand view of a car accident scene, for example, so that claims adjusters can have more to go on than just lengthy, inaccurate interviews. Or customers can show them to claims service representatives that could simultaneously guide them through the whole process to ensure their customers avoid payout loss.
In short, the time it take to process claims settlements will be reduced but, at the same time, customers get to experience improved service. But those are just a few things Google Glass can help them with. There are many other avenues in which this device can be useful. But in order for insurance companies and their customers to reap the benefits of improved transactions stemming from the use of such an innovation, insurers must undergo careful preparation. And to avoid losing customers to more well-equipped competition, they should be thinking of preparing right now.
In the past year, the tech giant Apple was able to sell around 150 million iPhones, but the company would not have achieved such a feat without its suppliers, most of which are located in Asia. The company has had problems with their suppliers, though, as it has been found some years ago that the factories they work with have been hiring under-aged workers. Because of this, they’ve earned a bad reputation with labor rights organizations and are pressured to solve the issue. This year, Apple is happy to report fewer child labor cases.
Latest supply-chain report
Recently, Apple had just finished with their eighth annual supply-chain report. Part of the process is auditing the 451 plants they work with, which is run by the many parts suppliers they’ve hired. Past surveys revealed some rather disturbing news, however, because the company had found out about the recruitment of minors. And we all know that companies, big or small, have corporate social responsibilities they need to adhere to when it comes to labor law. Apple reveals that they found only 23 cases of under-aged works in their latest survey. Although it is disappointing to know that there are children out there slaving away in Apple-affiliated plants, you have to admit that it is a huge improvement from the 74 cases they’ve discovered the year before.
Another issue the tech company is plagued with is the use of materials, such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold. These materials are what many call “conflict materials” since much of their supply are regulated by armed groups in the different warzones in Africa – Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. And there have been groups calling the attention of Ale in hopes that the company would do away with the use of such materials. And so this is another concern they look into in their annual survey.
But Apple claims they do not use materials that are procured from third-party providers. “In January 2014, we confirmed that all active, identified tantalum smelters in our supply chain were verified by third-party auditors… we’re pushing our suppliers of tin, tungsten and gold just as hard to use verified sources,” the company said in an article published by Reuters.
No 4 hour work week here
In addition, there is also the issue of compliance to the standard maximum 60-hour workweek. There have been instances in the past where Apple had been criticized for not acting on its supplier factories’ long workweeks when they know that man have already been cited for failing to provide overtime compensation, as well as worker insurances. But as of the recent survey, they have seen a 95% compliance to mandates for the 60-hour workweek. The company said that “workweeks exceeding 60 hours have been a persistent problem for the electronics industry and reducing excessive overtime remains a priority.” They also added, “We limit workweeks to 60 hours, except in unusual circumstances. And all overtime must be absolutely voluntary.
Just like any other plants, grass has its own seeds. Grass seeds are planted in a piece of bare land such as lawn, garden, pasture and reclamation area in order to make it naturally beautiful. In addition, it gives some benefits both to humans and the environment.
However, in order to make any piece of land a real beauty, one should determine the kind of grass that can grow within a particular area. Depending on your location, climate and yard condition, you can find a grass seed that is easy grow and maintain for less effort. Nowadays, it is quite easy to find grass seeds that are perfect either for warm or cold season.
Benefits of Growing Grass
Just like fruit bearing trees and flowering plants, grass has several advantages to humans. There are times when we tend to ignore the grass because of the thinking that it’s not much of help to us. Many people believe that grasses are only clutter and should be removed from the garden or lawn. Little did they know that it performs some roles that can benefit people.
- Beautification – A bare piece of land only becomes attractive when decorated with trees, flowers and grasses. With the help of grass seeds, any idle land can be turned into a nice garden or lawn in just a short time. Combined with proper trimming, preparation and after care, any kind of grass can give a natural beauty.
- Soil Erosion – Just like trees, grasses also help the environment by controlling excessive water from the ground. Grasses have roots and this is the reason why they can help in holding up the soil to prevent it from eroding and from damaging some plants.
Technological Advances for Grass Seeds
So that grass seeds can provide more benefits to people and the environment, there are a few innovations and advancements developed that are now made available.
- Drought resistant – Water may not be present in all households. In some African countries, drought is a common scenario, but this should not limit people from using grass for various purposes – commercial or for the beautification. Given this, there are several types, which can live with less water or even midst drought and these are the Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, Zoysia and Fescues.
- Fast growing – The process of landscaping a piece of land takes a while. To ease up the burden, use grass seeds that can grow easily. In as fast as 14 days, you can already see a garden with luscious greens and this is because of technology.
- Sturdy breeding – Just like what botanists do with flowers and plants, grasses can also be cultivated. Different kinds of grasses are tested and put together in order to come up with a good breed that is sturdy and multiplies easily. Aside from having a unique grass seed quality, breeding is also done for commercial purposes. In fact, the availability of different grass species is a great advantage for businessmen.
Disease-resistant – Aside from low maintenance, it is also important that grass type chosen is disease-resistant. When the grass can’t be easily attacked by insects and pests, it is considered as one of a kind. In addition to its attractive appearance, the grass should also be free from insects and various diseases that can kill it after sometime.
Anything is possible in this day and age. In the fashion scene, 3D printers are revolutionizing the catwalk. 3D printing brings exciting opportunities for fashion designers and clothing brands. The technology allows clothes-makers to create a piece of clothing by simply typing a code into a printing machine. Clothes can be customized and made to fit a particular body size. This gives everyone the chance to create their own design exactly as pictured. Customers can simply visit their favorite shops, enter the style they want and specify their body measurements so orders could be printed out.
Still in its early stages, materials used for 3D garments are mostly nylon, plastic or metal, and in some cases yarn. Nonetheless, technology is advancing at a rapid pace and materials are getting better every day. At the moment, creations are projected towards the art but it’s only a matter of time before they penetrate the high street too.
Amazing 3D-Printed Clothes that Compliment Your Skin and Body Shape
Who doesn’t want to wear a perfectly tailored piece that flaunts your gorgeous skin and figure? You will no longer need to search for the best dark spot corrector to hide your skin’s blemishes – the design will take care of that. The ability to produce wearable creation using state-of-the-art printing technology is something for the books. The fashion industry is grabbing more attention nowadays as it introduces the latest 3D garments on the runway:
Verlan Dress by Francis Bitonti – This dress was introduced during a three week digital fashion workshop last summer. The aim was to design a method of creating form on the computer that could be used on the body. Architect Francis Bitonti worked with students to create the final design using the MakerBot machines. Intricate patterning and silhouette were combined to produce a garment with geometric effects.
High-Tech Bikini by Continuum – Continuum, a San Francisco based clothing company, collaborated with 3D printing experts Shapeways to create the first ever 3D printed bikini that is ideal for swimwear. This high-tech bikini is made from Nylon 12, a strong, flexible, super thin, and waterproof material.
Voltage by Iris van Herpen – Dutch designer Iris van Herpen created this 3D printed collection called Voltage to showcase a fashion trend that combines fine handwork techniques with digital technology. Her Voltage Haute Couture collection gives us a peak into the future of fashion design. It clearly depicts an artistic expression that knows no boundaries.
3D Printed Gown for Dita Von Teese – New York designer Michael Schmidt and architect Francis Bitonti conceived and engineered this floor-length nylon gown through the process of 3D printing using selective laser sintering (SLS). The laser fuses the powdered nylon into form to create a material that can move like a textile. Schmidt tapped style icon Dita Von Geese to wear this specially created black lacquered dress cinched in at the waist, exaggerated at the shoulders, and embellished with Swarovski Crystals.
High-Tech Fashion in Today’s World
The essence of high-tech fashion in today’s time extends not just from the idea of function but in expressing the individuality of character and detailing the shape of the feminine body. Fashion is an expression of identity combined with emotions and desires. Clothes that flow freely on your skin and complement your body well are just as important in creating the right mood for the wearer.
Managing new leads and providing customer service to existing clients are two of the most time consuming and challenging aspects of being in business. By using the latest advancements in technology, entrepreneurs and seasoned business professionals such as lawyers, insurance agents and accountants can effectively manage both areas.
Apps for iPads and iPhones
Apps that use this type of CRM technology offer several benefits for professionals who are constantly on the go and trying to effectively manage their business. These include:
- Organizes leads
- Sorts and categorizes leads
- Identifies potential leads and prioritize them
- Increases productivity
- Improves customer service
Apps are designed to enhance marketing strategies as well as improve the level of customer service a business provides to their clients.
When it comes to marketing, converting leads into bona fide customers is the key to success. SalesForce uses both CRM technology and cloud computing resources to turn a curious person into a satisfied customer. Apps allow business professionals to respond in real time to possible leads. This shows the potential customer that their time is valuable and the person on the receiving end is willing to take the time to respond quickly.
Marketing apps that track and monitor leads also give the business person the ability to respond while the customers’ interest is at its peak. Keeping them interested entails a fast response and the willingness to provide the information they need as quickly and efficiently as possible. Striking while their questions are fresh in their mind gives them the impression that the business is ready to serve at a moment’s notice, not just when it is convenient for them. Cloud storage devices help to maintain active and ongoing lists of repeat customers. They also record which companies provide the most referrals.
By using resources stored within the cloud, the business can provide customers with information concerning past purchases, discontinued products and a host of other types of information. Apps put an abundance of information in the hands of the user even when they are away from the desk or out of the office.
CRM Technology and Tools
Apps from SalesForce help business professionals monitor where the new leads come from, how many of them are consistently turned into viable transactions and what types of advertising and marketing strategies produce the most leads. They can determine which leads should be a priority and which ones aren’t. With the use of cloud storage programs that save information generated through the mobile apps, data can be retrieved from almost any type of device that has downloaded the needed software.
SalesForce1 Platforms can be used to create personalized apps that will provide the type of tools needed by each company. For companies who must track hundreds of possible leads a day, CRM technology provides apps that will collect the information, sort it, categorize it and distribute the leads to the right person within the company. Apps can be created to undertake almost any task a business professional requires.
Technology has the ability to give each business an advantage. Business owners don’t need an IT degree to enjoy the benefits of using apps and CRM tools. All they have to do is determine what type of tools they need and let the professionals do the rest. SalesForce puts the ability to effectively manage leads, customer service and information distribution in the palm of a person’s hand. With these easy to use apps and tools, a professional can turn their company into a successful, well-managed business.
The new technology that was first created to help teenage drivers become safe and responsible, is now being utilized by car insurance companies and agents to observe their customers’ driving habits. While insurance companies claim using the new “telematic” devices is solely to help drivers save money, keep their cars out of the shop and reduce wear and tear , customers are on the fence as to whether the new technology offers them beneficial advice on their driving habits or a commercialized invasion of privacy.
When the technology first became available, parents loved the idea because it gave them an accurate view of their teenage driver’s habits on the road. The devices showed where they went, if they obeyed the speed limit and whether or not the knew how to brake effectively. Unbeknownst to the new driver, the device basically tracked every move they made, including how often they changed the radio station.
Teenagers who were proven to be excellent drivers would sometimes apply for insurance discounts if they maintained good grades and reported no incidents of accidents or traffic violations. Parents could review the information provided by the digital devices and plan accordingly. In cases where it was obvious the teen needed more experience before setting out on their own, parents could plan on providing them with one on one supervision while driving.
Although parents appreciated and welcomed the knowledge about their childrens’ driving habits, they are not so eager to divulge the information when it pertains to their own usage. New telematic devices record almost every action performed by the driver. GPS tracks their every move, documenting each location and the times when they arrived and left.
Acceleration and braking patterns are checked as well. The benefits of this type of documentation is better fuel efficiency and less wear and tear on brake pads and rotors. Proper use of the brakes helps to prevent excessive pad wear and helps them to last much longer than if a driver is constantly riding them.
The biggest glitch involving the use of the new tracking devices is misuse of the information they provided about the driver. Users worry that their information will be used to raise their insurance rates or influence their ability to get quality car insurance. It was discovered that the National Security Agency was guilty of several incidences of invasion of privacy. It was unclear as to whether telemetric devices were used in each incident, but the practice itself has given rise to the publics’ unwillingness to expose themselves to the risk of losing their privacy.
For those who choose to use the new technology, insurance companies are able to tailor their insurance policies to the exact needs of each of their customers. Those who drive safely, take less risks while on the road and obey traffic laws are more likely to have lower premiums and deductibles than individuals who constantly push the limits of their vehicle and the law.
Although most agree that the devices may be a little excessive in the amount of information they collect, customers are more concerned about how that information will be used in the long run.
So are insurance companies spying on you?