It’s not that millennials came up with the idea of IoT. If we look at the history of IoT, we were tinkering with connected machines from the early nineties. Aside from a few precocious tweens, most millennials were still learning at school rather than making waves in IoT. “IoT is a reality” — this trend is finally becoming true. Dreamed of by computer nerds everywhere for decades, we’re finally seeing a fully connected world. And, while millennials take a lot of flack for other things, here they get all the credit.
Let’s Understand the History
However, the technology at the time was hopelessly inadequate. No one could’ve made those now-antiquated systems operable. Do you remember Cellnet? Probably not. Hardly anyone does. Compared to today’s technology, it was low in bandwidth and completely insecure. Even a baby boomer could hack those networks today.
What sets millennials apart here, however, is that they grew up knowing that the IoT would be a reality. Baby Boomers watched sci-fi shows like Star Trek, and these sparked some ideas, perhaps. At the end of the day, everyone knew that such technologies belonged to the realm of science fiction.
Millennials, on the other hand, grew up as Trekkies started to make some of those futuristic creations a reality. The Star Trek crew walked around with hand-held or touch-activated communicators and scanners. You could locate someone using their communicators. The medical team would use the scanners to read biometric data.
We all carry a similar, albeit more basic, form of this technology in our mobile phones and biometric scanners today. Baby boomers were the dreamers. Millennials saw the fruition of some of those dreams and so became believers.
And while IoT adoption was slower than most believed, the big players committed to improving the infrastructure. Dell pledged $1 billion in 2017 to the future of the IoT to become a reality. Google, Amazon, and Apple also all invested heavily in IoT at the time.
The Situation As It Stands Now
Just three years later, the situation is very different. We now have smart speakers, thermostats, security systems, cars, and many more smart devices.
According to industry projections at the end of 2019, the reality of IoT is one of the new decade’s tech booms. The number of connected devices should hit the 50 billion mark by 2030.
That’s an average of seven devices for every person globally, and a stark rise from the 2018 average of about three per person.
There’s a buzz around the IoT, and it’s not going away anytime soon. And we have millennials to thank for that.
Representing <a href=”https://teamstage.io/millennials-in-the-workplace-statistics/”>75% of the global workforce by 2025</a>, millennials are the force to be reckoned with.
They were the early adopters and chose to stay connected. This generation was the one hardest hit by the subprime lending crisis in 2008. They’ve learned the value of a shared economy.
They’re now one of the primary economic forces globally. And that means they’re in a prime position to ensure that their IoT goals are met. They’re the ones that are driving many of the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions that we see today.
The IoT is a big part of the new sharing economy, so it’ll endure.
IoT Reality-How the Sharing Economy Is Changing the World
Another example of the sharing economy is asset accumulation. For the baby boomers, owning your car and house was a status symbol to achieve.
Today’s nouveau riche prefers to pay for what they use rather than acquire an asset outright. They buy assets that they can earn an income through. They no longer, however, invest in depreciating assets any longer.
IoT plays an essential role in the pay as you use model. Someone running an Airbnb property, for example, can use digital locks. They provide the password to the new users. When the person leaves, they generate a new code.
Up-and-coming young people may also choose the pay-as-you-go model for service reasons. IoT technologies built into a vehicle, for example, may monitor driving performance. Those that drive more carefully might receive preferable rates going forward.
Owners may track vehicles and detect when there’s a break-down or collision. They could dispatch emergency services or roadside assistance immediately. These are little things that provide additional benefits. The system may remind them to stop at a gas station or report for a maintenance check.
Naturally, there are concessions to make. Should they drive poorly, they’ll pay extra for your rental.
Still, considering the immediate drop-off in value when you buy a brand-new car, it might be worthwhile. With a pay as you go model, upgrades are easier than with an owned vehicle.
These are just some examples of how the sharing economy and IoT work hand in hand to improve service delivery. It’s not all sunshine and roses, however.
The Loss of Privacy
This, again, might be something that we have millennials to thank for. They’ve grown up in an environment where privacy takes on a whole new meaning. Many share everything online, It’s a culture that, by its nature, means any information is up for grabs.
In all fairness to them, they were among the first generations to fully embrace social media. At the time, no one could foresee the long-term consequences of such a pairing. Twenty years ago, the idea that commenting on a public forum might lose you your job was ludicrous. Today IoT is a reality.
The misuse of technology was inevitable. Even so, who could have foreseen something such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal?
Recap of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal
In 2014, the free Facebook app, “This Is Your Digital Life,” was released. A few hundred thousand people downloaded the fun app. It didn’t seem like a big hit. It was, however, ideal for the developers. The app allowed them to harvest the app users’ data. It also gave them access to the data of anyone connected to them on Facebook.
An investigative reporter broke the story a year later. It was too late -the damage was done. As it turned out, the information harvested was used in developing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
There have been several scandals since that made this one seem tame. But it’s fair to say that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was the one that shocked the world into a realization of the dangers of sharing data.
In this instance, the information wasn’t collected for malicious reasons. The researchers didn’t use it to commit identity theft or any equally nefarious purposes. However, they did use it to influence the outcome of politics within one of the world’s superpowers. That’s frightening.
We’ve singled out social media here, but the sharing economy enables most companies to harvest data from their clients. There are several other instances that we could cite here.
Other Surreptitious Data Shares
Take a smart thermostat, for example. It’s convenient and links into a phone app for ease of control. What users seldom realize is that many models also transmit usage data back to the manufacturer.
The companies collect this information to understand their client needs better. They use it to improve their product offerings. Is there a massive outcry over this kind of monitoring? It seems not. Many users accept the tradeoff if they perceive better service delivery.
Another sterling example is the free antivirus software, Avast. Last year, the firm got caught out and confirmed that it tracked 400 million users’ browsing habits. It then “de-identified” those users.
What did it do with the information? IT sold it off through its Jumpshot division.
According to Avast, the company sold no personally-identifying information. Experts, however, questioned the efficiency of the process used to strip the data.
The revelation didn’t destroy the firm, which is a testament to how little we value our privacy. Instead, it saw a 7.93% rise in adjusted earnings. It seems that consumers accept that real privacy is a thing of the past. Many are willing to let it go if they feel adequately rewarded.
Naturally, they feel somewhat differently about when that information is used to their detriment. That brings us to the next project for our creative millennials – securing the IoT.
Securing the IoT
The IoT is in use in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Everyone with a smart device is part of the collective. That brings with it enormous possibilities. It also puts a higher burden of care on these devices’ manufacturers.
Let’s look at a simple office environment. Firms may have smart printers, screens, tablets, desktops, laptops, smartphones, bulbs, thermostats, and even coffee machines. They all form part of the IoT reality. Each unit is a potential access point to the company’s online systems.
In case you think we’re a little paranoid, think again. Forbes recently reported that Martin Hron, a researcher at Avast, conducted a little experiment. Hron decided to see how secure the coffee maker in the office was.
It sounds ridiculous, but it was child’s play for him. The device had no in-built encryption. He was able to read the firmware. It took him minutes to take control. The router didn’t protect against the attack because the device acted as a Wi-Fi point on its own.
You may wonder what the point of this exercise was. After all, a coffee maker won’t lead you to world domination. Hron, however, proved that it could make a handy ransomware tool. He ran several cycles of the machine. Each cycle created a noisy distraction in the office.
The office workers’ only option was to disconnect the device. If they powered it up, the problems started all over again. Hron was in a position to demand a ransom to call off the attack.
It seems like a stupid issue. The firm would be more likely to buy a new coffee maker than pay the ransom. What happens, however, if it’s a busy coffee shop with a machine worth thousands?
Is a Simple Device a Backdoor?
More importantly, what if other devices in the network are equally vulnerable? It’s also worth considering that the machine can link to the company’s router. Could it give a determined hacker access to the firm’s sensitive data? Could it help them take down the server?
It’s a valid concern. Most people will have heard of a DDoS attack. This is where a hacker uses a bot army to crash a company’s servers. With the internet of things, that bot army might well be lurking in the firm’s offices.
We’ve listed the number of smart devices that firms might use. Should a hacker gain control of those devices, they may pull off a simple denial-of-service attack. During such an attack, the company’s own network’s tools flood the server with service requests.
The results might well be deadly. Each device on the network is authorized to operate within it, so the requests won’t trigger alarms. At best, the server’s performance will slow. At worst, it’ll crash.
A determined hacker could demand a ransom to halt the attack. They might also earn money by working for a company’s competition.
It seems incredible that a smart bulb might be a cybersecurity threat. It’s something to consider in our increasingly connected environment.
Encryption protocols are typically used to protect data. If the device doesn’t contain data, the manufacturer might see no reason for such security.
Regulators in the United States and worldwide have already noted this threat. They’re currently working on ways to improve the overall security of such devices.
In the interim, it’s something that our millennial friends need to put their minds to as well. We’re sure that they’ll come up with workable solutions.
The IoT was an idea born decades before its time. Now that its time is here, we find that it has almost limitless promise. It’s hard to deny, however, that there are some serious security concerns to overcome.
Being continuously connected leaves us vulnerable to cybersecurity threats that no one saw coming. Who’d have thought that a simple coffee maker could become the center of such a debate? Still, the generation that is responsible for the reason why IoT is a reality today could well be the one to solve the potential security issues.
Image Credit: pete linforth; pixaby
How to Find a Professional Design Team
A business that wants to grow and scale will need a design team. According to Firstsiteguide, 70% of small-to-mid-sized enterprises invest more in their digital presence. As companies began to move online, the demand for user-friendly software to attract large numbers of customers has increased.
If existing enterprises require designers to create a website or application, startups also hire specialists to develop a product design. Software is essential for sales and recognition, so managers carefully approach personnel selection. If you’re looking for an experienced design team and want to know how to choose the best one, check out the tips for finding the perfect candidates.
When to Look for Designers
The online market is constantly improving, and with new digital features, customers are no longer willing to collaborate on the old model. To avoid losing your clients, you should keep up with innovations: update a legacy interface, introduce new communication ways and think about a payment system. Rapid adaptation gives the company a guarantee of maintaining sales and image.
Selling software needs a convenient and simple design, but only some entrepreneurs decide to improve it. To determine if it’s time to involve a designer in the project, analyze your situation:
- you do not have a selling website design or your product design;
- you are constantly selling your product or service using the software;
- you are not satisfied with your design quality at the moment;
- your potential users are not willing to interact with the content;
- your product design is different from the design of the application.
If you are familiar with these issues, your business needs an experienced team of designers who will analyze the product and create a modern structure for productive work with clients and partners.
Types of Design Teams
Before starting the search for specialists, managers decide on cooperation options. There are two types of employees: in-house and outsourced. Each has its pros and cons, making a choice more difficult.
In-house specialists are full-time employees engaged only in the company’s project. They are fully involved in internal workflows and communicate closely with the team. In-house designers understand the product they work with, its values, and its philosophy. It is much easier for the manager to control the result of such an employee and set new tasks at no additional cost.
In-house designers are well-versed only in a particular industry, so tasks from other niches can cause them difficulty. Also, constant work on one project can lead an employee to burnout and dismissal. The primary in-house designer disadvantage is the expense of sickness and vacation pay. While outsourcing teams only budget for working hours, a full-time employee also counts on vacation pay.
The outsourcing team is specialists who come to the company for a specific project or task. They help businesses free up time for more important things or help with tasks businesses can’t handle. Each outsourcing specialist offers a wide range of knowledge as they constantly interact with different niches.
A significant advantage of companies providing outsourcing or outstaff services is strict personnel selection. They choose only experienced employees and introduce them to the modern features of the digital environment. Outsourced teams do not require payment in the event of an employee’s illness or vacation. If one of the employees falls ill or is unsuitable for your project, they replace them with another in a short time.
The main disadvantage of outsourcing is the price. You need to pay for each hour of work of each specialist, reducing the quality of cost control. Also, you will be unable to assign additional tasks to an outsourced designer in other areas, which sometimes burdens internal processes. Outsourcing workers cannot be trained for themselves, as they come to your company for a certain period and work only on the agreed tasks.
Signs of a Professional Design Team
Meeting future colleagues for the first time can take time to determine their competence fully. Since candidates want to make a good impression, they will highlight their good qualities while glossing over their flaws. Catch the details to avoid falling for this trick and make the right decision.
The portfolio of a professional design team should impress every beholder. And this does not apply to individual works but to the entire portfolio. When selecting candidates, check the quality of each design rather than picking only the best.
To understand your compatibility with potential employees, find a project similar to yours in their examples. If the design team already has experience in your industry, they know how to interact with your audience and hook them for a successful sale. Experienced specialists will tell you about your niche’s design features, what design details they can add to software development, and which ones you should avoid.
If you are hiring an outsourcing team for a project or using an outstaff, you need to determine how these people will interact with your full-time employees. Since designers communicate closely with developers and project managers, they will have to find a common language to understand and support each other. At the interview, ask your future designers about their attitude to working in a team with employees from different departments.
The outsourcing design team is fully responsible for the work specified in the contract. The project implementation is a long, complex process, but the specialist must adhere to the designated deadlines. The ability to self-organize and write a clear action plan to avoid going over budget is an important criterion when selecting web designers.
A person’s design skills, as well as managerial skills, play a significant role in the successful completion of a project. Experienced workers will competently build an action plan, and you will be calm about the timing of work completion.
One of the vital signs of a good specialist in any field is the desire to grow and develop. Progress does not stand still, and the digital environment offers new solutions for IT engineers. Since any leader wants to make gradual progress in their product, they will opt for a designer who wants to learn something new and implement it into current projects.
An experienced worker will make changes to avoid confusing the client and let them get used to the latest software version. Thanks to the constant improvement of the user experience, the business will not only scale but also increase sales.
Where to Find a Professional Design Team
Finding a reliable outsourcing development team is a manager’s first and most challenging task. Many entrepreneurs need help finding professionals with extensive experience in their industry and how to make sure that they are experts.
The best way to search quickly is word of mouth. Ask for recommendations from your friends or colleagues who will tell you the right decision. You can also search the Internet yourself. The most popular sites for designers are Clutch, Dribbble, and Behance. These resources provide complete information about the company, customer reviews, ratings, and examples of work. Having found an attractive offer, you can read reviews about the design team on third-party resources and conclude.
Hiring employees is a responsible job that must be approached with caution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn as much as you can about designers’ expertise. Hiring the right people can build a successful business and achieve your goals faster than your competitors.
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No Cookies? Retention.com Helps Provide Privacy-First Actionable Data
The ongoing struggle over safe data management continues to heat up. Third-party cookies have had a bad rap for years, and while their future for providing actionable data remains murky, it doesn’t look good.
This leaves businesses scrambling to look for new, more ethical ways to collect and utilize customer data. This is especially the case in an information-first environment that has no intention of reducing the importance of analytics going forward.
Retention.com is a revolutionary e-commerce retention marketing solutions provider that has been sounding the alarm on the demise of third-party cookies for a while now. In response, the innovative brand has developed industry-leading identity resolution technology. This offers timely aid to companies looking for alternative customer data management solutions.
Retention.com has created a unique, user-friendly approach to first-party actionable data. Before considering its impact, though, let’s start with the major issue facing marketers at the moment: the slow but steady death of third-party cookies.
The Delayed (But Inevitable) Doom of Third-Party Cookies
Digital marketing has always relied on cookies. This browser-based form of tracking analyzes basic user behaviors, from dwell time and frequency of site visits to past purchases.
Sometimes brands gather this information directly from a consumer for internal use. Often, though, it’s collected by others and utilized across various other websites without consent — something called third-party cookies.
Third-party cookies are an unpopular form of data collection.
In fact, they’re not just unpopular. They’re unsafe, which is why Google has announced it will phase them out in the name of greater data protection and consumer security. However, the search engine giant has delayed this deprecation process to 2024 (as of the time of this writing).
Even with the delay, the removal of third-party cookies still poses very real concerns for e-commerce businesses. Any company that doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed by the shift when it does finally take place needs to find an alternative to third-party data now.
The Struggle to Capture Actionable Data from Customers
For those who lean on third-party data to market and engage with consumers, the impending doom of third-party cookies is a monumental concern.
Even for those who don’t tap the unsavory data source, it still leaves them with the challenge of capturing customer data first-hand — something referred to as first-party data. Brands can glean first-party data through various tools like surveys and sign-up forms, but these are only effective up to a certain point.
For instance, consider a customer who visits an e-commerce site from their desktop computer. The visitor ignores a request to sign up for their newsletter. They start looking at products and then leave without making a purchase.
They could be at any point in the sales journey. Perhaps they are discovering information on a sales page, adding items to their cart, or even looking for a promotional code. Regardless, if they leave before clicking that all-important “complete purchase” button, they disappear into the ether. They leave no possible way of following up.
To make matters worse, they might hop back onto the site later from their phone, and the company wouldn’t even know that it’s them. The visitor would have to start the purchase process all over again, too, making the likelihood of completing the activity that much lower.
All of this can be resolved with actionable data.
When a brand has basic customer data, it can reserve its clients’ past activity. It then catalogs their preferences and streamlines future purchases. With third-party data on the way out and a cookieless future ahead, though, companies must find effective ways to collect first-party data if they want to boost ROI.
That’s where Retention.com comes into the picture.
Retention.com Streamlines First-Party Data Collection
Retention.com has developed a solution to first-party data collection in the form of its identity resolution software, Reclaim. This addresses a key area of underperforming ROI that the e-commerce retention marketing solutions provider refers to as “abandonment revenue.”
The definition of the term is in the name. When potential customers abandon a sales funnel, they leave unrealized revenue behind. When a company doesn’t have its website visitors’ personal information, it can’t follow up or provide personalized interactions.
Reclaim boosts abandonment revenue as much as 10 times over. The software does this by quickly and effectively tying unidentified customers to first-party cookies. This turns anonymous e-commerce site users into bonafide, real-world individuals.
The ability to identify who is on a site can have a dramatic effect on engagement (and consequentially ROI) by triggering different activities, such as cart abandonment emails and SMS flows. This leads to more browsing and greater dwell time.
One of the key factors of Retention.com’s revolutionary marketing software is its ease of use. Reclaim doesn’t require days of setup and integration. It takes hours to implement the code and proliferate it across an e-commerce site. This creates a quick-and-easy, set-it-and-forget-it solution that businesses can use to start tapping into their abandonment revenue streams. The software is even designed to scale along with businesses as they grow.
No Cookies, No Problem
As third-party cookies continue to die a slow death, every e-commerce business faces the prospect of a dramatic change to the status quo. The question is, which enterprises will be able to find creative solutions to help them operate in a cookieless environment?
Retention.com offers a simple, effective way to outsource the issue of first-party data collection. Its Reclaim software takes less than a day to implement and integrates with countless e-commerce applications.
This fast application leads to near-immediate results in the form of boosted abandonment revenue. Customers begin receiving SMS and email communications through ethical first-party cookie connections that offer personalized messages and encourage results-oriented engagement.
To top it off, the service is affordable, and customers only pay for incremental performance. Retention.com even offers its “Flow Insurance” as a 100% guaranteed refund if clients don’t see their abandonment flow revenue improve.
From the ease of use to its impressive impact, Retention.com’s software solutions are showing e-commerce companies that it’s perfectly possible to not just survive but thrive in a cookieless world.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!
What is Metaverse and How is it Changing AR/VR World?
VR augmented reality has already been a mainstay of science fiction. The idea has been the subject of numerous works of fiction and popular media, but we are finally at the point where it can become a reality.
It’s safe to say that the Metaverse has been the subject of several discussions and arguments. While some see it as the future of technology, others dismiss it as nothing more than a fad. The reality is that the Metaverse is here to stay, and its effects on everything from our mental health to our ability to do our jobs will be profound.
The Metaverse: what is it?
The term “metaverse” refers to a network of socially-connected 3D virtual worlds. It’s defined as a simulated online setting that uses VR augmented reality, blockchain, and social media concepts to create environments that seem very much like the actual world but allow for more nuanced human participation.
Everything can be found there, from sports to conventions to retail therapy. Putting on a headset and logging into the virtual reality portal is the only way into Metaverse.
Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Meta (formerly known as Facebook), estimates that it will take five to 10 years for the core features of the Facebook metaverse to become standard.
On the other hand, the Metaverse is growing at an astounding rate.
Even though not everyone has access to them, ultra-fast broadband connections, virtual reality headsets, and always-on online worlds are now a reality.
Now we will examine the two most distinguishing features of a Metaverse platform:
The Metaverse tech would combine elements of vr augmented reality. Space and time in a Metaverse app should feel roughly equivalent to real life.
Visual, aural, and kinetic interaction modalities are all possible in the real world. Similar digital collaborative opportunities are anticipated from a Metaverse platform.
One of the requirements for a successful Metaverse software is that it can function on multiple Metaverse systems (s).
Creating applications for the Metaverse hints at a wide range of untested technology possibilities.
The developers, whether newcomers to the Metaverse or established figures with deep roots, might create either restrictive or flexible features.
Furthermore, there is an abundance of resources that can be used to bring this envisioned future into being. Unreal Engine, Unity, Amazon Sumerian, Blender, and Maya are just a few examples of such development environments.
Learn more about the practical applications of the Metaverse and the benefits it provides by looking at examples from other industries.
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the Metaverse technology market could be worth $2.5 trillion by 2030, up from a projected $800 billion in 2025.
The sector is getting the outside stimulation and attention it needs to change both vr augmented reality technology and the future. Let’s look at some pioneering initiatives that have led to the development of Metaverse tools.
For example, the Metaverse Rules contain the following:
Only one Metaverse exists. All people should have access to the Metaverse.
The Metaverse exists beyond everyone’s control. The Metaverse must be accessible most of the time.
Most importantly, the Metaverse doesn’t care about your hardware. Both the internet and networks are part of the Metaverse.
When you put on your VR headset, you enter a virtual reality (VR) environment called the Metaverse.
It has enormous potential in many areas, including retail, business, and the workplace. In the Metaverse, real and virtual worlds are fused using tools like VR augmented reality (AR), describing a vision of a linked 3D digital global (AR).
Virtual worlds like Decentraland and online gaming platforms, like The Sandbox, are only two examples of existing metaverses. Participation in the Metaverse is growing at an unprecedented rate in the game industry.
According to Participation in the Metaverse is growing at an unprecedented rate in the game industry according to 65 % of the global population has participated in media extravagance, such as viewing a television show, movie, or premiere within a video game or working together to create a live concert.
Who Uses the Metaverse the Most?
Sixty-nine percent of humans have engaged in social activity, meeting new people, attending a group gathering, or visiting a virtual world while playing a game.
Almost three-quarters (72%) of people on Earth have engaged in some form of financial activity within the Metaverse. This can include the purchase of virtual goods, the purchase of virtual money, the purchase of digital goods from digital markets, or the purchase or sale of other gamers.
Augmented Reality (AR) in the Virtual World
Market leaders like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are betting big on the potential of the “embodied internet” that is the Metaverse. It’s either a virtual reality experience or something that can be brought into your life (via AR).
The popularity of virtual worlds is on the rise, but the actual Metaverse may be the future wave regarding augmented reality.
The most natural way to supply digital content to the human perceptual system is to incorporate it directly into our physical surroundings.
How Does Your Brain Make a Unified Representation to You?
Your brain creates a unified representation of the arena based on information gleaned from your senses of sight, hearing, touch, and movement.
As long as virtual factors are powerfully recognized in your environment in terms of space and time, this is possible with augmented reality, even with reasonably poor visual constancy.
Now that our ability to judge distance (or intensity perception) is refined, it is not hard to believe this.
Augmented reality will inevitably become the norm. It may replace smartphones and computers as the dominant interface to digital content, and it will undoubtedly eclipse virtual reality as the primary doorway to the Metaverse.
Augmented reality may give us superpowers, allowing us to change our surroundings with a finger or an eye.
VR Augmented Reality in the Metaverse
Customers can now bridge the gap between their digital and physical worlds by entering the Metaverse thanks to virtual reality.
We will be able to explore new locations and make reports more accessible to more people by using virtual versions of people, objects, and landscapes.
In a nutshell, it’s an alternate reality where you can do all sorts of things like go to class, work, a concert, or shop without ever leaving your house. Virtual reality allows users to experience events, shop, and learn about new opportunities. Augmented and mixed reality, on the other hand, will open hitherto unimaginable possibilities for enhancing the physical world around us.
There are already add-ons to the XR landscape, such as haptic commenting tools, that will allow us to feel the handshakes and embraces of our contacts no matter where we are physically located.
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