Voice User Interface (VUI) help users interact with any system using voice or speech command. A typical example is Alexa. With the help of VUI, users do not have to use their hands or swipe the screen to communicate with the system.
Voice User Interfaces use speech recognition & natural language understanding technologies to convert user language into text & meaning.
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VUI is not a new concept. The concept is being derived from smart speakers, which has brought VUI to the users’ living rooms.
Interactive Voice Response: The first VUI developed was an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that allowed users to communicate with a phone system using speech. IVRs typically recognise digits.
Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants: Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants are other VUI forms that recognise all kinds of natural language. These are general-purpose digital aides that provided users with output in the form of voice.
Voice Command Devices: Voice Command devices are those smart home appliances that are controlled through voice command.
Multimodal user interface: Multimodal user interface is the fourth type of VUI that can implement all types of interaction between human and computer, like voice, touch, vision and physical. This type of VUI is not developed for general purposes. However, these are designed for a specific application, and they function using voice command to do tasks.
Voice User Interface allows users to interact with computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles. The modern user interface is designed to give the users confidence to use computers as their personal assistants by responding to all types of requests and commands. The user interface is human-centric and has become the next-generation interface paradigm, encouraging considerable prospective for enhancing user experience and productivity.
VUI has made it possible for millions of people to have better control over their homes, business, and phones. On that note, let us look at some of the advantages of using VUI.
Speed & Efficiency
Through VUI, users have the option of hands-free interaction. It means that VUI has removed the requirement to tap the screen or press a button to communicate with the device. The way people have interacted with each other via speech, VUI has enabled users to communicate with the devices. Further, communication via speech has also improved the efficiency level.
Insightfulness and convenience
Quality VUIs are expected to offer intuitive user flow, and tech innovations pledge to boost voice interface sensitivity. VUIs need less cognitive effort compared to GUIs.
In the present times, voice is used for human-machine interactions. This normalises the application of technology by allowing users to interact with their computers as if they communicate with the dear ones.
Talk over the phone without placing it near the ears
If a user knows how to use VUI, he/she can use this technology to speak on the phone without placing the phone near your ears. Even when a user is in between day to day activities, he/she can probably answer the call by press the button to answer the call and then talk to callers hands-free.
VUI helps to save a lot of time. An example of this is that a user can change the direction by instructing Google Maps while driving. Thus, it would lessen the scope of getting lost. Also, the user is not required to take out the phone and look for the destination and find direction.
Undoubtedly, VUI has made communication between the user and device comfortable. However, there exist a couple of drawbacks associated with this technology. Let us look at them.
Smart Home Devices are expensive
Although VUI has made life easy, the biggest challenge here is that the devices are expensive and beyond many people’s reach. Besides, these devices consume a lot of electricity. It means that if the user has several smart devices, it is most likely that he/she may have to pay a huge electricity bill. Also, if there is no electricity in the house, these devices would not function.
Discomfort communicating with a computer
Despite VUIs being easy to use, some people feel uncomfortable while communicating with computers. They find speaking to a device unnatural and can’t communicate with a device even in private.
There could be a chance that the data gets tracked by the manufacturer of the VUI device. Lately, there were some concerns amongst people that Google Home and Alexa are spying on private conversations. This could be a concern amongst users of the device related to the theft of confidential data.
In the present times, VUIs are becoming popular, and so is their designing process. In this section, we would look at the steps for designing VUI.
Understand your audience
It is the first step in the process of developing VUI where a developer implements a user-first design. The main objective in this process involves collecting information and understand the behaviour and need of users. Based on the information, the developer develops the product.
In this process, the focus involves the identification of the challenges pointed in the previous product. Once this process is done, the next step includes gathering information on the language and phrases used by the end-users while communicating with each other.
Define the Product
Once you know your audience, you need to design the product focusing on its shape and capabilities. The stage includes the creation of new scenarios and ensuring they work with voice.
The third step in VUI development focuses on creating dialogue for each requirement that the developer intends to see in the end product.
The developer then prepares a set of dialogues that make the building blocks of the voice user flow for participation and everyday dialogue. Once this is achieved, the developer identifies the errors which might occur in the end product and then fix it.
Testing of the product
Once the product is developed, the developer tests the product to achieve the benchmark of the product specification.
Refining of the product
Once the product reaches the market, it is the time when it is refined by studying the way the users use the end product. Some of the key points generally seen by the manufacturer are:
What is accounts payable? Accounts Payable (AP) is an obligation that an individual or a company has to fulfill for purchasing goods and services bought from their suppliers and vendors. AP refers to the amount that is not paid upfront and can be paid back in a short period of time. Hence, a good or a service purchased on credit to be paid in a short period will fall under AP. For individuals, AP may include the bill paid after availing services such as television network, electricity, internet connection, or telephone. Most of the time, the bill is generated after the designated billing period, depending upon the amount of consumption. The customers have to pay this obligation within a stipulated time to avoid default. What is accounts payable from a Company’s point of View? AP is the amount of money a company is liable to pay to its suppliers or vendors and clear dues for purchases of goods and services purchased from its suppliers or vendors. AP is required to be repaid in a short period, depending on the relationship with suppliers. It is essentially a kind of short-term debt, which is necessary to honour to prevent default. As the current liabilities of the company, AP is required to be settled over the next twelve months. It is presented in the balance sheet as the account payable balance. For example, Entity A buys goods from Entity B for US$400,000.00 on Credit. Entity A has to pay back this amount within 60 days. Entity A will record US$400,000.00 as AP while Entity B will record the same amount as Account receivable. AP is also a part of the cash flow statement. The change in the total AP over a period is shown in the cash flow statement, hence it is part of the company’s working capital. It is widely used in analysing the cash flow of the business and cash flow trends over a period. AP may also depict the bargaining power of the company with its vendor and suppliers. A vendor or supplier may give the customer a longer credit period to settle the cash compared to other customers. The customer here is the company, which will incur AP after buying goods on credit from the vendor. There could be many reasons why the vendor is providing a more extended credit period to the firm such as long-term relationship, bargaining power of the firm, strategic needs of the vendor, the scale of goods or services. By maintaining a more extended repayment period to supplier and shorter cash realisation period from the customer, the company would be able to improve the working capital cycle and need funds to support the business-as-usual. However, prudent working capital management calls for not overtly stretching the payable days as it might lead to dissatisfaction of supplier. Also, investors tend to closely watch the payable days cycle to determine the financial health of the business. When the financial conditions of a firm deteriorate, the management tends to delay the payment to their suppliers. Why accounts payable is an important part of Balance sheet and Cash Flow Statement? As inferred from the previous paragraphs, AP is part of the current liabilities of the balance sheet. This is an obligatory debt that has to be paid back within a time frame so that the company does not default. AP primarily consists of payments to be made to suppliers. If AP keeps on increasing over a period of time, it can be said that the company is purchasing goods or services on credit more, instead of paying up front. If AP decreases, it means the company is reducing its previous debts more than it is buying goods on credit. Managing AP is essential to have a stable cash flow. In a cash flow statement prepared through an indirect method, the net difference in AP is shown under cash flow from operating activities. The business entity can use AP to create the desired variation in the cash flow to some extent. For example, to increase cash reserves, management can increase the duration of paying back the credit taken for a certain period, thus affecting the net difference in AP. What Is the Role of Accounts Payable Department? Every company has an accounts payable department and the size and structure depend upon how big or small the enterprise is. The AP department is formed based on the estimated number of suppliers, vendors, and service providers the company is expected to interact with; the amount of payment volume that would be processed in a given period of time; and the nature of reports that a management will require. For example, a tiny firm with a low volume of purchase transactions may require a simple or a basic accounts payable process. However, a medium or a large enterprise may have a accounts payable department that may require a set of practices to be followed before paying back the credit. What is the Accounts Payable Process? Guidelines or a process is important as it provides transparency and smoothness in facilitating the volume of transactions in any time period. The process involves: Bill receipt: when goods were bought, a bill records the quantity of goods received and the amount that needs to be paid to the vendors. Assessing the bill details: to ensure that the bill or invoice copy includes the name of the vendor, authorization, date of the purchase made and to verify the requirements regarding the purchase order. Updating book of records after the bill is collected: Ledger accounts need to be revised on the basis of bills received. The department makes an expense entry after taking approval from management. Timely payment processing: the department takes care of all payments that need to be processed on or before their due date as mentioned on a bill. The department prepares and verifies all the required documents. All details entered on the cheque along with bank account details of the vendor, payment vouchers, the purchase order, and the original bill and purchase order are scrutinized. The department also takes care of the safety of the company’s cash and assets and prevents: reimbursing a fake invoice reimbursing an incorrect invoice making double payment of the same vendor invoice Apart from making supplier payments, AP departments also takes care of travel expenses, making internal payments, maintaining records of vendor payments, and reducing costs Business Travel Expenses: Bigger entities or firms whose business nature requires all personnel to travel, have their AP department manage their travel costs. The AP department manages the personnel’s travel by making advance payments to travel companies including airlines and car rentals and making hotel reservations. An account payable department may also deals with requests and fund distribution to cover travel costs. After business travel, AP may also be responsible for settling funds supplied versus actual funds spent. Internal Payments: The Accounts Payable department takes care of internal reimbursement payments distribution, controlling and petty cash controlling and administering, and controlling sales tax exemption certificates distribution. Internal reimbursement payments include receipts or both substantiate reimbursement requests. Petty cash controlling and administering includes petty expenses such as out-of-pocket office supplies or miscellaneous postage, company meeting lunch. Sales tax exemption certificates comprise AP department handling sales tax exemption certificates supply to managers to make sure qualifying business purchases excludes sales tax expense. Maintaining Records of Vendor Payments: Accounts Payable maintains information of vendor contact, terms of payment and information of Internal Revenue Service W-9 either manually or on a computer database. The AP department lets management know through reports on how much the business owes at present. Other Functions: The accounts payable department is also responsible to lessen costs by identifying cost structures and creating strategies to reduce the spending of business money. For example, minimising cost by making payment of the invoice within a discount period. The AP department also acts as a direct point of contact between an entity and the vendor. How to Calculate Accounts Payable in Financial Modelling Financial modelling enables calculating the average number of days a company takes to make bill payments. AP days can be calculated using the following formula: AP value can be calculated using the following formula: What is accounts payable turnover ratio? AP turnover ratio shows the capability of a firm to pay cash to its customer after credit purchases. It is counted as an essential ratio to analyse the cash management attribute of the firm and its relationship with vendors or suppliers. It is calculated by dividing purchases by average AP. Purchases by the company are calculated as the sum of the cost of sales and net inventory in a given period: Now let’s understand this with the help of an example. Let us suppose, Cost of sales of Company XYZ for the period was $60,000, and XYZ began with inventories worth $21000 and ended at $15000. AP at the beginning was $20000, and $15000 at the end. Now the purchases will be $66000 (60000+21000-15000). The average AP will be $17500. Therefore, the AP turnover ratio will be 3.77x. Dividing the number of weeks in a year by the AP turnover ratio will give the number of weeks the company takes on average to settle its payables. In this case, it will be around 13.8 weeks (52/3.77). What is the difference between Accounts Payable vs. Trade Payables? Though the phrases "accounts payable" and "trade payables" are used interchangeably, the phrases have slight differences. Trade payables is the cash that a company is obligated to pay to its vendors for goods and supplies which are part of the inventory. Accounts payable include all of the short-term debts or obligations of a company.
A report of overdue customer invoices and credit memos. It is an indicator of the financial health of the customers of the company, and regular reviewal of it would enable to track and control the liquid cash flow in the company.
What is the Dark Web? The dark web is one such portion of the World Wide Web which is not accessible by regular search engines. The dark web is considered a hotbed for criminal activities, and it is much more than that. Various websites exist on an encrypted network inside the dark web. Standard web browsers and programs cannot find these websites. Once inside the dark web, different sites and pages can be accessed like one does on the web. Scientists believe that the internet we see is only 4% of the entire ocean of the web, meaning the 96% consists of the "Deep and Dark Web". The user interface used in the dark web is usually internet-based, but it utilises special software which is not part of the standard ones. There are dozens of web browsers to surf the internet, but they all work in the same way. These standard browsers use ports and protocols to request, transfer and view data on the Internet. The website you access may look familiar, but as you enter, it may be illegal or something familiar but otherwise not monitored by anyone else. Therefore, the deep web and the dark web are famous for being anonymous. Also read: Cyber Espionage Campaign: Strings that tie China, Australia and the US How to access dark web browser? In order to access a few areas which are restricted, the user may need a password and a process to follow. A special software called TOR (The Onion Router) or the Freenet has these non-standard connections. These browsers are unlike standard internet browsers and have a process to access. They allow the users to browse around the dark web and are focused on keeping the user identity anonymous. If hacked or accessed, the regular web browser can easily provide user information such as who the user is and whereabouts. Though the dark web is providing 100% anonymity, federal agencies have been successful in tracking down criminal activities on the dark web. It is often said that the person you are talking to on the dark web could either be an FBI agent or a criminal. Image: Kalkine What happens inside the world of the dark web? The dark web is famous for allowing sinister activities, but many users go on the dark web to access information which otherwise may not be accessible on standard internet. Such as users from extremely oppressive governments who cut access to the world for their citizens. Unfortunately, such confidential environments also provide open platforms to criminals, terrorists and other such individuals involved in illegal activities. Hence, experts advise users to not access the dark web even out of curiosity as it is a lawless environment. There have been many incidents where innocent, curious users were trapped and forced to get involved in criminal activities or their digital devices hacked and compromised without their knowledge. A study conducted by a University of Surrey researcher Dr Michael McGuires in 2019, Into the Web of Profit, shows that the dark web has become worse in recent times. Since 2016 of all the listings on the dark web suggested, 60% could harm companies. Everything illegal and criminal can be found on the dark web, it also has other legitimate options such as chess clubs or book clubs, but because of the anonymity, the user will not know whom he/she is interacting with. Inside the dark web, anonymity and lawless nature make the crimes which exist otherwise in our society hard to trace. The payment procedure inside the dark web is also different from the World Wide Web. Most often, Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency are used for the transactions. RELATED READ: Knock Knock! Cybercriminal at Your Doorstep What’s the difference between the deep web and dark web? The dark web is part of the entire deep web and is hidden from regular browsing access. Most people confuse the deep web and the dark web as one entity. It is not. The deep web content includes anything hidden and restricted behind the security wall such as content which otherwise requires paywall or sign-in or blocked by the author. Content which cannot be easily accessible on regular internet such as medical records, membership websites, paid content are available on the deep web; hence it is also called Invisible Web. No one really knows the total size of the internet, but the experts believe that the standard World Wide Web consists of only 4% internet, the deep web consists of 90% and dark web consists of 6% of the entire internet. ALSO READ: Technology has changed the way we work amid the COVID-19 crisis: A look at in-demand technologies Image: Kalkine Also read: It happens again, NZX being bullied by Cyber-attackers- Down for the fourth day What kind of risk companies face due to the dark web? The Into the Web of Profit report listed below threats various organisations around the world are facing, especially the ones who have weak or insufficient cybersecurity measures. Malware attacks Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks Botnets Trojan, keyloggers, exploits Espionage Credentials access Phishing Refunds Customer data Operational data Financial data Intellectual property/ trade secrets Also read: Cybersecurity and the Requirement of a Resilient Environment in Australia Are there advantages and disadvantages to the dark web? The dark web provides complete anonymity, the users get complete privacy to perform any activity, be it illegal or legal. Many countries in the world still have authoritarian regimes offering no civil rights to their people. To such oppressed lot, the dark web provides an opportunity to access news, information, data and also express their views. The dark web is also a perfect place for law agencies to map criminal activities while being undercover. It is also easy to commit gruesome crimes through the dark web as it is complicated and lawless. Criminals can easily use the dark web to compromise someone's privacy, steal data or private information or even hire someone to commit murder. Do internet users need to be concerned about the dark web? The simple answer is no unless the user is using the dark web. Study says that most young people visit the dark web out of curiosity. They do not want to indulge in any criminal activity but want to see how the hidden and secret world of the dark web operates. And that is where the possibility of the electronic device IP address getting hacked by other criminals to perform their criminal activities lies. The earliest use of darknet dates back to the year 2000. Freenet was created at the University of Edinburgh based on a student research paper. Ian Clark wrote the paper in 1999 on the possibility of such an encrypted internet base. Freenet was created to oppose censorship and provide a platform for free speech. The most powerful dark web is TOR, and it was created by the United States government to have a secure encrypted communication in case of emergency and complete disaster. Even today, many law agencies are secretly active inside the world of the dark web to gain access in the criminal world and stay one step ahead.
What is Data Mining? Data mining is a process that facilitates the extraction of relevant information from a vast dataset. The process helps to discover a new, accurate and useful pattern in the data to derive helpful pattern in data and relevant information from the dataset for organization or individual who requires it. Key Features of data mining include: Based on the trend and behaviour analysis, data mining helps to predict pattern automatically. Predicts the possible outcome. Helps to create decision-oriented information. Focuses on large datasets and databases for analysis. Clustering based on findings and a visually documented group of facts that were earlier hidden. How does data mining work? The first step of the data mining process includes the collection of data and loading it into the data warehouse. In the next step, the data is stored and managed on cloud or in-house servers. Business analyst, data miners, IT professionals or the management team then extracts these data from the sources and accordingly access and determine the way they want to organize the data. The application software performs data sorting based on user’s result. In the last step, the user presents the data in the presentable format, which could be in the form of a graph or table. Image Source: © Kalkine Group 2020 What is the process of data mining? Multiple processes are involved in the implementation of data mining before mining happens. These processes include: Business Research: Before we begin the process of data mining, we must have a complete understanding of the business problem, business objectives, the resources available plus the existing scenario to meet these requirements. Having a fair knowledge of these topics would help to create a detailed data mining plan that meets the goals set up by the business. Data Quality Checks: Once we have all the data collected, we must check the data so that there are no blockages in the data integration process. The quality assurance helps to detect any core irregularities in the data like missing data interpolation. Data Cleaning: A vital process, data cleaning costumes a considerable amount of time in the selection, formatting, and anonymization of data. Data Transformation: Once data cleaning completes, the next process involves data transformation. It comprises of five stages comprising, data smoothing, data summary, data generalization, data normalization and data attribute construction. Data Modelling: In this process, several mathematical models are implemented in the dataset. What are the techniques of data mining? Association: Association (or the relation technique) is the most used data mining technique. In this technique, the transaction and the relationship between the items are used to discover a pattern. Association is used for market basket analysis which is done to identify all those products which customer buy together. An example of this is a department store, where we find those goods close to each other, which the customers generally buy together, like bread, butter, jam, eggs. Clustering: Clustering technique involves the creation of a meaningful object with common characteristics. An example of this is the placement of books in the library in a way that a similar category of books is there on the same shelf. Classification: As the name suggests, the classification technique helps the user to classify and variable in the dataset into pre-defined groups and classes. It uses linear programming, statistics, decision tree and artificial neural networks. Through the classification technique, we can develop software that can be modelled so that data can be classified into different classes. Prediction: Prediction techniques help to identify the dependent and the independent variables. Based on the past sales data, a business can use this technique to identify how the business would do in the future. It can help the user to determine whether the business would make a profit or not. Sequential Pattern: In this technique, the transaction data is used and though this data, the user identifies similar trends, pattern, and events over a period. An example is the historical sales data which a department store pulls out to identify the items in the store which customer purchases together at different times of the year. Applications of data mining Data mining techniques find their applications across a broad range of industries. Some of the applications are listed below: Healthcare Education Customer Relationship Management Manufacturing Market Basket Analysis Finance and Banking Insurance Fraud Detection Monitoring Pattern Classification Data Mining Tools Data mining aims to find out the hidden, valid and all possible patterns in a large dataset. In this process, there are several tools available in the market that helps in data mining. Below is a list of ten of the most widely used data mining tools: SAS Data mining Teradata R-Programing Board Dundas Inetsoft H3O Qlik RapidMiner Oracle BI