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KÖRBER: ONLY 1 IN 10 BUSINESSES CAN STAY AHEAD OF THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES

challenges

KÖRBER: ONLY 1 IN 10 BUSINESSES CAN STAY AHEAD OF THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN CHALLENGES

Körber, the Hamburg, Germany, global supply chain technology leader from software to materials handling automation, on Sept. 1 announced the results of its “2020 State of Supply Chain Complexity” survey.

Among the top findings: Manufacturing and fulfillment complexities only continue to grow–and 91 percent of supply-chain professionals cannot stay ahead of these challenges.

More products, distribution channels, and customer expectations make supply chains more complex, according to Körber, which polled 1,200 global supply chain professionals to learn how they cope with supply chain complexity, how they feel their solutions stack up against the competition and how they’re managing the transition from manual to automated processes.

Technology integration and customer demand ranked among the top challenges today’s supply chain faces.

The issues respondents said most often contribute to their company’s supply chain complexity include:

-48% ‒ integrating and ensuring software, materials handling equipment (MHE), and technologies work together throughout the entire logistics ecosystem

-46% ‒ integrating functions across the supply chain – from manufacturing to end-customer deliveries

-46% ‒ meeting consumer expectations for speed, cost and adaptability

Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents said senior executives view the supply chain as mission-critical–an important step in gaining support for upgrading warehouses and last-mile technology.

“Now isn’t the time for supply chains to break under pressure–yet, 48 percent of companies have experienced growth in complexity this past year,” said Rene Hermes, chief marketing officer for Körber Supply Chain. “It’s good to hear so many executives see this business area as mission-critical. Now we must transform that understanding into action.”

Access the 2020 State of Supply Chain Complexity Survey here: https://www.koerber-supplychain.com/complexitysurvey.

steel

Steel Import Licenses Must Include Country of “Melt and Pour”

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis System (SIMA) will be modified effective October 13, 2020, to require that the country where the steel was “melted and poured” to be identified in the license application. Other changes in the final rule published on September 11, 2020, include adding coverage for eight additional HTS numbers in order to synchronize the system with the coverage of Section 232 for basic steel mill products; increasing the low-value license to $5,000, and allowing multiple uses; and extending the SIMA program indefinitely.

The new rule defines “melted and poured” as “the original location where the raw steel is: (A) First produced in a steel-making furnace in a liquid state; and then (B) Poured into its first solid shape…The first solid state can take the form of either a semi-finished product (slab, billets or ingots) or a finished steel mill product.”

The reporting requirement does not apply to raw materials used in steel manufacturing. The new required information on the country of “melt and pour” may also be useful in investigating circumvention of duties.

The SIMA website will shut down from October 9 until October 13, 2020 when the new website is updated and goes live. Commerce has created a page with the latest updates regarding SIMA. In the interim, Commerce stressed that there will be limited availability for manual license processing.

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Nithya Nagarajan is a Washington-based partner with the law firm Husch Blackwell LLP. She practices in the International Trade & Supply Chain group of the firm’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation industry team.

Camron Greer is an Assistant Trade Analyst in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Washington D.C. office.

electric

The Global Electric Generator Market to Seek New Balance Between the Pandemic, Cheaper Oil, And the Demand for Alternative Energy

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Electric Generating Sets And Rotary Converters – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The Increased Demand for Autonomous Electricity Supply for Business, Industrial Facilities, and IT Infrastructure Buoys Electric Generator Market

In 2019, the global market for electric generating sets and rotary converters was finally on the rise to reach $58.4B after two years of decline. Electric generating sets and rotary converters are equipment that is used for primary power generation and also serves as backup power supplies for infrastructure and residential buildings.

The key factors in the demand for generators are the growing demand for electricity, insufficient electrical infrastructure, especially in areas far from large cities, the need to provide a guaranteed power supply with a stable voltage, as well as backup power to important infrastructure facilities (hospitals, government agencies, business centers, airports, train stations, etc.) and technical equipment (communication towers, data centers, industrial enterprises, etc.).

In value terms, the largest electric generating set and rotary converter markets worldwide were the UK ($3.1B), China ($2.8B), and Russia ($2B), together comprising 14% of the global market (IndexBox estimates). Brazil, the U.S., India, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan, Nigeria, South Korea, and Angola lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 15%. The leadership of the UK in value terms is largely attributed to the high demand for wind generators in the country – such units are large, rather expensive, and their quantity is much less than, for example, portable gasoline generators.

In 2019, the highest levels of per capita consumption of electric generating sets and rotary converters were registered in Angola (30 units per 1000 persons), followed by South Korea (8.23 units per 1000 persons), Japan (7.40 units per 1000 persons), and Russia (6.79 units per 1000 persons), while the world average per capita consumption of electric generating set and rotary converter was estimated at 2.92 units per 1000 persons.

Since industrial and other high capacity generators constitute expensive equipment, their installation and use correspond with capital investments against the background of the general growth of industry and trade. The dynamics of construction also directly affects the generator market: business centers, retail outlets, infrastructure, and social facilities are increasingly being equipped with backup generator sets, while residential construction is driving the demand for portable generators for private homes, which are usually purchased in case of power outages.

Another fundamental factor of market growth is the growth of the IT sector, as well as the telecommunications sector: the coverage of the countries of the world with wireless networks and mobile Internet is increasing, the infrastructure for which requires a stable power supply.

The development of electric transport (especially electric vehicles) will require the creation of a large-scale network of charging stations, which may increase the demand for generators (local generators can become auxiliary or even the main sources of energy for charging stations in hard-to-reach areas).

The Pandemic Hampers Business Investment But Promotes the Equipment of Medical Facilities and the Demand for Portable Generators

In view of the above, the dynamics of the electric generating sets and rotary converters market as a whole reflects the overall GDP growth. In early 2020, the global economy entered a period of the crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to battle the spread of the virus, most countries in the world implemented quarantine measures that put on halt production and transport activity.

The combination of those factors disrupts economic growth heavily throughout the world. According to World Bank forecasts, despite the gradual relaxing of restrictive measures and unprecedented government support in countries that faced the pandemic in early 2020, the annual decline of global GDP could amount to -5.2%, which is the deepest global recession being seen over the past eight decades.

In Asian countries, especially China, which faced the pandemic earlier than others, the epidemic situation improved earlier, with the quarantine measures largely relaxed, and the economy is gradually recovering from the forced outage. Thus, in China, by the end of 2020, an increase of 1% is expected (while a year earlier it was 6.1%), and in general in Southeast Asia in 2020, an increase of 0.5% is expected. In the medium term, it is assumed that the economy will gradually recover over several years as the restrictions are finally lifted. The U.S., meanwhile, is struggling with a drastic short-term recession, with the expected contraction of GDP of approx. -6.1% in 2020, as the hit of the pandemic was harder than expected, and unemployment soared due to the shutdown and social isolation.

The industrial sector has proven vulnerable to the pandemic as due to quarantine measures, industrial facilities may be stopped, and the drop in incomes of the population makes the growth of end markets unfeasible, thereby hampering any expansion of the industrial manufacturing. Thus, the above economic prerequisites will have a negative impact on the establishment of new industrial facilities and put a drag on market recovery.

On the other hand, measures to mobilize the medical system and equip temporary COVID hospitals required the use of a large number of generators. At the same time, in the second half of 2020, the effect of this factor may fade out against the background of the gradual weakening of the pandemic and the removal of social isolation.

In the wind energy segment, which comprises the global exports of $6.1B in 2019, an additional factor is also favorable government policy worldwide. Increased attention to environmental issues and the political goal of reducing the “carbon load” will increase the demand for generators on alternative energy sources, in particular, for wind turbines.

As for portable generators, the additional demand could be found in those countries with a lack of stale centralized electricity supply e.g., in many African countries. Furthermore, lower oil prices as a result of reduced demand and oversupply amid the pandemic are making oil and gas more affordable. Consequently, the cost of electricity that is generated by the fossil-fuel-based equipment is reduced, which contributes to the growth of the use for electric generating sets and rotary converters. The increasing social anxiety, as well as the continuing threat of isolation due to the virus, could lead to the purchase of portable generators for future use in case of power outages in emergency situations.

Taking into account the above, it is expected that in 2020 and the next few years, global consumption of electric generating sets and rotary converters should decline somewhat against 2019. In the medium term, as the global economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the market is expected to grow gradually. Overall, market performance is forecast to pursue a slightly upward trend over the next decade, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +0.9% for the period from 2019 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 25M units (IndexBox estimates) by the end of 2030.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

free trade

WANT PEACE? PROMOTE FREE TRADE.

Frédéric Bastiat famously claimed that “if goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

Bastiat argued that free trade between countries could reduce international conflict because trade forges connections between nations and gives each country an incentive to avoid war with its trading partners. If every nation were an economic island, the lack of positive interaction created by trade could leave more room for conflict. Two hundred years after Bastiat, libertarians take this idea as gospel. Unfortunately, not everyone does. But as recent research shows, the historical evidence confirms Bastiat’s famous claim.

To Trade or to Raid

In “Peace through Trade or Free Trade?” professor Patrick J. McDonald, from the University of Texas at Austin, empirically tested whether greater levels of protectionism in a country (tariffs, quotas, etc.) would increase the probability of international conflict in that nation. He used a tool called dyads to analyze every country’s international relations from 1960 until 2000. A dyad is the interaction between one country and another country: German and French relations would be one dyad, German and Russian relations would be a second, French and Australian relations would be a third. He further broke this down into dyad-years; the relations between Germany and France in 1965 would be one dyad-year, the relations between France and Australia in 1973 would be a second, and so on.

Using these dyad-years, McDonald analyzed the behavior of every country in the world for the past 40 years. His analysis showed a negative correlation between free trade and conflict: The more freely a country trades, the fewer wars it engages in. Countries that engage in free trade are less likely to invade and less likely to be invaded.

Trading partners

The Causal Arrow

Of course, this finding might be a matter of confusing correlation for causation. Maybe countries engaging in free trade fight less often for some other reason, like the fact that they tend also to be more democratic. Democratic countries make war less often than empires do. But McDonald controls for these variables. Controlling for a state’s political structure is important, because democracies and republics tend to fight less than authoritarian regimes.

McDonald also controlled for a country’s economic growth, because countries in a recession are more likely to go to war than those in a boom, often in order to distract their people from their economic woes. McDonald even controlled for factors like geographic proximity: It’s easier for Germany and France to fight each other than it is for the United States and China, because troops in the former group only have to cross a shared border.

The takeaway from McDonald’s analysis is that protectionism can actually lead to conflict. McDonald found that a country in the bottom 10 percent for protectionism (meaning it is less protectionist than 90 percent of other countries) is 70 percent less likely to engage in a new conflict (either as invader or as target) than one in the top 10 percent for protectionism.

Trade and Conflict

Protectionism and War

Why does protectionism lead to conflict, and why does free trade help to prevent it? The answers, though well-known to classical liberals, are worth mentioning.

First, trade creates international goodwill. If Chinese and American businessmen trade on a regular basis, both sides benefit. And mutual benefit disposes people to look for the good in each other. Exchange of goods also promotes an exchange of cultures. For decades, Americans saw China as a mysterious country with strange, even hostile values. But in the 21st century, trade between our nations has increased markedly, and both countries know each other a little better now. iPod-wielding Chinese teenagers are like American teenagers, for example. They’re not terribly mysterious. Likewise, the Chinese understand democracy and American consumerism more than they once did. The countries may not find overlap in all of each other’s values, but trade has helped us to at least understand each other.

Trade helps to humanize the people that you trade with. And it’s tougher to want to go to war with your human trading partners than with a country you see only as lines on a map.

Second, trade gives nations an economic incentive to avoid war. If Nation X sells its best steel to Nation Y, and its businessmen reap plenty of profits in exchange, then businessmen on both sides are going to oppose war. This was actually the case with Germany and France right before World War I. Germany sold steel to France, and German businessmen were firmly opposed to war. They only grudgingly came to support it when German ministers told them that the war would only last a few short months. German steel had a strong incentive to oppose war, and if the situation had progressed a little differently—or if the German government had been a little more realistic about the timeline of the war—that incentive might have kept Germany out of World War I.

% reduction in conflict

Third, protectionism promotes hostility. This is why free trade, not just aggregate trade (which could be accompanied by high tariffs and quotas), leads to peace. If the United States imposes a tariff on Japanese automobiles, that tariff hurts Japanese businesses. It creates hostility in Japan toward the United States. Japan might even retaliate with a tariff on U.S. steel, hurting U.S. steel makers and angering our government, which would retaliate with another tariff. Both countries now have an excuse to leverage nationalist feelings to gain support at home; that makes outright war with the other country an easier sell, should it come to that.

In socioeconomic academic circles, this is called the Richardson process of reciprocal and increasing hostilities; the United States harms Japan, which retaliates, causing the United States to retaliate again. History shows that the Richardson process can easily be applied to protectionism. For instance, in the 1930s, industrialized nations raised tariffs and trade barriers; countries eschewed multilateralism and turned inward. These decisions led to rising hostilities, which helped set World War II in motion.

These factors help explain why free trade leads to peace, and protectionism leads to more conflict.

Free Trade and Peace

One final note: McDonald’s analysis shows that taking a country from the top 10 percent for protectionism to the bottom 10 percent will reduce the probability of future conflict by 70 percent. He performed the same analysis for the democracy of a country and showed that taking a country from the top 10 percent (very democratic) to the bottom 10 percent (not democratic) would only reduce conflict by 30 percent.

Democracy is a well-documented deterrent: The more democratic a country becomes, the less likely it is to resort to international conflict. But reducing protectionism, according to McDonald, is more than twice as effective at reducing conflict than becoming more democratic.

Here in the United States, we talk a lot about spreading democracy. We invaded Iraq partly to “spread democracy.” A New York Times op-ed by Professor Dov Ronen of Harvard University claimed that “the United States has been waging an ideological campaign to spread democracy around the world” since 1989. One of the justifications for our international crusade is to make the world a safer place.

Perhaps we should spend a little more time spreading free trade instead. That might really lead to a more peaceful world.

This article was originally published on FEE.org.

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Julian Adorney

Julian Adorney is a Young Voices contributor. He’s written for FEE, National Review, The Federalist, and blogs at The Empathetic Libertarian.

economy

Back to Growth: U.S. Business Leaders Have Rosy Outlook for Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our work and life.

Business executives have had to quickly reconfigure operations, and millions have had to unexpectedly work from home or cease work entirely. Videoconferencing has become the killer app, and Zoombombing became a new privacy concern.

Despite the widespread health and business challenges brought on by the coronavirus, two-thirds of U.S. business leaders are optimistic the domestic economy will recover within a year, according to a survey TMF Group recently released.

It’s an encouraging sign that business executives in the U.S. are expressing this type of optimism, particularly based on the unprecedented challenges experienced throughout the economy over the last few months. This group was obviously very confident before the onset of the pandemic, and they now seem eager to not only restart their businesses but help reignite the economy as well.

We conducted the survey in the middle of April to gain insight into how companies plan to navigate these uncertain times. More than 40 percent of the 300 decision-makers who took part in the poll work in companies with more than 5,000 employees. Most of the respondents (85%) said their companies do business outside the United States.

Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) expect a V-shaped economic recovery, meaning a dramatic bounce to pre-virus activity by the end of 2020 following the sharp collapse. Only a small minority (12%) anticipate the economic impact of the pandemic to the last two years or more.

Looking beyond the U.S., business executives were a little less optimistic but still positive: 56% of respondents said the global economy would recover within a year.

It may be easy for critics to judge the survey takers as stereotypical American optimists, but I believe their confidence is grounded on some key facts. The economic shock has been largely demand-driven, as travel restrictions and government stay-at-home orders shut down wide swaths of the U.S. and global economies. Many of the world’s governments acted quickly to offset the economic damage. In the U.S., the federal government and central bank organized a massive stimulus package and pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets. More than 60% of respondents said the financial support to workers and businesses in the U.S. has had a very positive or somewhat positive effect on their companies.

Now, as states allow more businesses to reopen, consumers are eagerly venturing out despite the ongoing health risks. As consumer and business demand rebound, companies will begin hiring again.

Indeed, business decision-makers are confident their businesses will rebound quickly. More than half say their companies will return to normal operations within six months.

In times of crisis, there’s a premium on bold leadership and decisive action. Resilient leaders continue to mount appropriate responses to the global pandemic while charting paths to recovery.

The survey underscored that the pandemic has forced business to rapidly evolve. Many are moving ahead to reassess, reimagine or reinvent their businesses. Thirty-six percent say they plan to accelerate plans for international expansion, and 32% plan to seize domestic growth opportunities.

It’s a positive sign that the strategic imperative to go global remains strong because COVID-19 has dealt a serious blow to the international system. The World Trade Organization predicted in April that world merchandise trade would plummet between 13% and 32% this year.

But the factors that have driven globalization for several centuries have not disappeared. People have been driven to seek profit internationally since the earliest days of the Silk Road, and this instinct will continue. Furthermore, the spirit of international cooperation has been strong in the response to the pandemic. Companies, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations are working across borders to solve problems at scale, such as developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

A big motive for international expansion is the diversification of supply chains, cited by 35% of respondents. The coronavirus has interrupted the flow of goods across borders, from raw materials to finished products. The disruption has vividly illustrated that today’s highly interlinked, international supply chains have more potential points of failure and less margin for error for absorbing delays and disruptions.

Reducing dependence on one country or region is a priority. Diversifying your supplier base may increase costs in the short-term but will make your network more flexible and agile and potentially reduce the economic shock of future disruptions.

The outbreak of COVID-19 forced business to reassess every strategic objective and business plan. The health crisis has exposed vulnerabilities and created unforeseen challenges.

As businesses around the world consider how they can return from the economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19, the survey results provide some food for thought. Expanding internationally or domestically in uncertain times, for instance, may seem counterintuitive but could also fuel faster growth. Severe adversity provides real perspective. It is possible to find strength and confidence in the face of real hardship.

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TMG Group is an international professional services firm that provides administrative support services across multiple jurisdictions.

tariffs

WTO Rules that U.S. Section 301 Tariffs on Chinese Imports Violate International Trade Rules

The World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement body ruled that the tariffs imposed by the U.S. on imports from China are inconsistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and recommended that the U.S. “bring its measures into conformity” with its obligations under the GATT. Beginning in 2018, at the direction of President Trump, the U.S. imposed tariffs on $400 billion worth of imports from China over 4 different lists or tranches. The U.S. and China negotiated a “phase one” trade deal earlier this year, however, most of the tariffs were still left in place.

The WTO panel concluded that the U.S. failed to demonstrate that the tariff measures are justified under Article XX(a) of the GATT 1994.  As a result, the panel found the U.S. tariff measures to be inconsistent with Articles I:1, II:1(a) and II:1(b) of GATT 1994. In other words, the WTO found that the U.S. tariffs on China were discriminatory and excessive, and the U.S. failed to present justification for an exemption that could have legally allowed for the tariffs.

Despite the WTO’s recommendation, its ruling is highly unlikely to sway the course of U.S. trade policy. This is not only because of the limited authority of the WTO, but also because the administration has argued that the tariffs are justified under U.S. law. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 provides the U.S. government with the authority to impose trade sanctions on countries that violate trade agreements or engage in unfair trade practices, of which the U.S. has frequently accused China.

The WTO’s ruling is likely to increase the current U.S. administration’s distrust of the WTO. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer criticized the ruling, saying “the United States must be allowed to defend itself against unfair trade practices…” and that “[the WTO’s] decision shows that the WTO provides no remedy for such misconduct” by China.

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Nithya Nagarajan is a Washington-based partner with the law firm Husch Blackwell LLP. She practices in the International Trade & Supply Chain group of the firm’s Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation industry team.

Camron Greer is an Assistant Trade Analyst in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Washington D.C. office.

overseas

7 Tips For Starting A New Business Overseas

Moving abroad has been the dream of many people. Instead of traveling for a vacation, you can move to another country and establish your life there. Setting up a business is one of the best ways to settle abroad. But what are the odds that your business will succeed? That is the worry for most people who intend to start a business abroad.

This article aims to give you hope and remind you that it is still possible to do business overseas. Once you are set, you can travel to any country that you dream of living in and start your establishment. All you need is a market for your products and comply with the local government regulations. On top of that, be aware that sometimes you may be far from your establishment or home if you do not intend to move permanently.

These seven tips should help you to successfully run any business of your dream in a foreign country.

Pick Your Ideal Destination:

Before you can travel and start your trade overseas, you must be specific about the place you want to settle. Many factors will determine your destination. The climate of the region can so much affect how you cope with the transition. For instance, if you come from the tropical regions, moving to the colder regions might be a harsh encounter, and you will take time to adapt.

You would also want to research the economic and political stability before you move your investment there. You cannot put up your business in a place where you cannot sleep peacefully or are not sure if the product value will fall and lose your investment.

Learn the Local Language and Culture:

When entering into business, you should expect to interact with the local community. People are always skeptical when it comes to new businesses. They want to learn your business model, treat them, and your attitude toward their way of life. As you must be aware, nobody wants to give up on their culture.

Therefore, your business idea should not cross the customs of the people in the country you want to settle. Learning the local language makes it easy to blend with people and understand each other – improving your services to the consumers. However, the language will come in slowly when you finally settle.

Evaluate the Market:

Market research is essential when starting up a business abroad. What do people like? How specific are they when they buy their products? What pulls them to other brands? In your research, you need to understand two things. First, you should know who your ideal customer is and what they want. You also want to learn some things about your competitors.

How has the product you intend to launch been doing in the past – or anything similar? Knowing other traders’ performance in your industry will help you understand the growth potential of any new investment in the region. If your competitors have had some growth, you can invest in the industry and acquire customers.

Legalize Your Operation:

Each country on the planet has its laws regarding business operations. You should, as a fundamental step, register your company abroad when starting. Later on, you will want to register trademarks as well for your convenience. Inquire about business registration and licensing requirements, because in some regions, they are offered separately.

For small businesses and operations like retail and supermarkets, you may only need a local business license to operate. However, if you are into manufacturing, assembly, and supplies, you will need to register a company. You can consult an attorney about the process or visit a registered company formation agent to complete the registration process.

Expand Your Network:

Connections matter a lot in every aspect of our lives. In business, we need to engage with people who know the surroundings and the requirements we need to fulfill to ensure that we run our ventures smoothly. When you plan to move abroad, you should get in touch with businesses and people who can help you start.

Relationships also create lasting trust between you and your network. The network you have can support you in many ways through your business and provide any assistance you may need during challenging moments. It would help if you did not ignore your competitors as they are vital for the growth of your business.

Start with Freelancers:

Managing employees might be another issue people worry about when thinking of setting up a business overseas. How will you compensate your workers? What terms do you need in a foreign land? What about taxes and insurance? All these things might consume your time, money, and brains.

Managing employees has never been easy, and it is not going to be any time soon. As a startup, you should think of ways to run your business without formal workers at your premises. The initial stages of a business setup may not need workforce until you establish a customer base. Therefore, you are better off paying freelancers for the available tasks and pay them hourly or on daily wage agreements.

Set Up a Website:

We are in the 21st century when digital marketing matters in all business sectors. As a startup, you want to reach more prospects both locally and through the states and beyond boundaries. Various marketing channels are essential, but you need to reach more customers online through social media, content marketing, and PPC. It would help if you did not forget about SEO and the long-term customer flow.

However, all forms of digital marketing have something in common. Consumers interested in your ventures need to click on a link or button to read more about your business and products. You must, therefore, have a website for people to learn more and interact with your brand. Ensure that you have your contact information on the site, and make it easy to access mobile devices.

In Summing Up

Moving abroad to start a business is an awesome idea. Therefore, you should make sure that everything you will be doing is compliant with the local authority laws and consumer expectations to sustain growth. Research is essential, and preparation in every aspect is mandatory. Give no room to chances, but exploit every opportunity to grow.

density

The Top-Paying Low-Density Cities in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a mass exodus of people from dense, expensive cities to less crowded, affordable areas. A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 39 percent of urban Americans are considering moving to a less crowded location as a result of the pandemic. This shift in attitude follows a long period of urbanization that began during the Industrial Revolution and continued through the beginning of 2020.

Despite most Americans living in high-density areas, the overall population density in the U.S. is relatively low, at under 100 people per square mile. In fact, only about 5 percent of U.S. counties have a population density that exceeds 1,000 people per square mile. Most of these high-density counties are located in coastal states such as Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and California. Low-density areas are scattered throughout the country, with the lowest population densities observed in the North Central and Mountain regions.

While rural living might be attractive for some, many Americans are simply looking for less crowded alternatives to some of the most densely populated areas like New York City (27,954 per square mile), San Francisco (18,828 per square mile), and Boston (14,396 per square mile). For reference, the median population density of America’s 324 largest cities with over 100,000 residents is just 3,419 per square mile, about 80 percent less crowded than New York City.

For families seeking a less crowded place for health and safety reasons, but also wanting to maintain a comparable salary, there are several locations to consider, especially in the South and the Midwest. To find which low-density cities pay the best, researchers at Roofstock, a real estate investment platform, analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau for cities with over 100,000 residents.

The researchers first identified cities with population densities that fell below the median of 3,419 people per square mile. Then the researchers ranked the remaining cities by their respective median annual earnings for full-time workers. In the event of a tie, the city with the higher median earnings for all workers was ranked higher. To improve relevance, cities were further grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000-349,999), and large (350,000 or more).

Here are the top-paying large U.S. cities with low population densities.

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Roofstock’s website: https://learn.roofstock.com/blog/best-paying-low-density-cities

data security

How Can Organizations Ensure Data Security

The cyber-security scene is advancing at a fast-paced rate and concurrently, advances in technologies are progressively becoming better at aiding cyber-criminals and hackers to take advantage of data security loopholes. The continuously growing scale of breaches and cyber-security attacks should be a major concern for all organizations. An example of such attacks is the WannaCry, a massive malware attack that affected over 150 countries, including the UK, Germany, India, and Japan. Considering all the sensitive data that organizations store online, including financial documents and customers’ private details, it’s evident that one breach could have a huge negative impact on their businesses. Here are a few measures organizations can take to ensure data security.

1. Protect the IT Infrastructure

Organizations need a secure and established IT framework to build a solid foundation for a healthy data security plan. As such, they should keep an eye on every component, including devices and systems. They should ensure all the computers and smart devices are adequately protected against advanced cyber-attacks and malicious hacks.

The IT team must ensure all systems are updated with the most recent operating systems and reliable anti-virus solutions. They must also put a configured firewall in place to ward off external attacks and unauthorized access on the network. NordVPN can be a great data protection tool, especially when browsing the Internet. By encrypting data, this VPN establishes an additional layer of security that keeps your browsing activity, financial information, and emails invisible to hackers.

2. Perform Comprehensive and Regular Audits

Data security measures can never be complete without thorough and regular audits. A regular audit is a practical approach that enables businesses to identify vulnerabilities in the existing security plan. Auditing data collected in the post-attack offers an organization a perfect understanding of the blunders that can result in similar breaches in the future.

This information can be instrumental in the creation of a more powerful data security strategy coupled with more reliable data security policies. So, businesses must perform comprehensive and regular audits to enhance compliance and get rid of potential risks.

3. Limit Data Access

Most companies give a few employees privileged access to their most valuable data. Consider who in the company has access to important customer information. Do you know everyone’s access rights? Knowing the details of every staff that has privilege access to data and reasons for accessing it can help you prevent data hacking, theft, and loss.

Organizations must limit data access. They should determine the kind of data that a staff member needs to access to carry out their work obligations effectively and make sure they have access to just what they require. In addition to safeguarding sensitive information from theft or loss, limiting access could ensure more efficient data management.

4. Remove Stale Information and Put Secure Backups in Place

Many companies in the healthcare, education, and finance sector handle sensitive data as an important part of their businesses. Having the right data disposal strategies in place can prevent redundant data from being stashed away and lifted at a later date.

Regular data backup is a fundamental part of a complete IT security strategy. Organizations should have robust backups in place to ensure they still have access to their sensitive information even after accidental file removal or a full ransomware lockdown. They should store their backup data in a safe, remote location far from their main places of business.

5. Change Your Mindset

Many organizations don’t give data security the seriousness it deserves. They have poor passwords, unencrypted sensitive files, and misconfigured AWS servers. Due to this sloppy attitude, it’s estimated that more than 4 billion data records with valuable information were breached within the first six months of last year.

Companies must change their attitude. They must view data security as their top priority. Everyone in the company must understand the value of data security, not just the top executives. They should embrace security best practices such as authenticating digital identities of all employees and customers as well as using up to date VPNs like the NordVPN.

The Parting Note

With cyber-security threats increasing rapidly in today’s world, it has become important to be armed with the right security tools and privacy improvements that are required to protect the organization’s most valuable asset, that is, the data. Data security should be given utmost priority and all staff members trained accordingly.

AI

AI and Cryptocurrency – How They Can Work Together Effectively

There will soon come a time when artificial intelligence will be running on top of cryptocurrency systems like Blockchains with its capability to increase machine learning capacity and create new financial products. It will take the technology leaps and bounds further in making it one of the mainstream emerging technologies.

According to the research being conducted about the future of AI, the market is estimated to grow to a whopping $190 billion worth of industry by 2025. Considering how much the market is expected to grow, Blockchain and AI convergence are inevitable.

Both the emerging technologies have been around for a decade now and deal with data and value. Where Blockchain enables a secure storage and sharing path of data, AI analyzes and generates significant insights from data to create value.

Having such similarities, there is no doubt that both the technological realms can be merged to create a more advanced and efficient machine learning blockchain system to benefit the masses. Let’s have a look at how Blockchain and AI are a perfect match.

How Blockchain and AI Is the Perfect Match

The following are some key pointers and examples that evidently showcase how combining Blockchain and AI is a consequent step forward in the right direction for increased efficiency and profitability.

Blockchain connecting with the AI basics

Firstly, it is essential to know that most of the hype surrounding startups integrating Blockchain with artificial intelligence is exactly just that, hype. Such companies are far too young and inexperienced in the industry to be talking about a big game. With few clients and less commercialization, it is understandably not possible to carry out such advance convergence.

The majority of such companies have raised money through the initial coin offering or the ICO. This means that the solutions they offer are as thoroughly evaluated as they would have been had the company raised a significant amount of venture capital money.

However, it is quite so possible that these companies may become successful in the future, but until then, they just create useless hype about the advancements in this technology.

Many people limit the usage of Blockchain technology and associate it with just cryptocurrency transactions. As a digital ledger that can record economic transactions, Blockchain can be expanded to virtually record almost anything of value.

There can be both public and private blockchains. Where the public ones are open to the public, the private or ‘Permissioned’ blockchains are restricted for usage by ‘invitation-only’ and mainly used in the corporate environment. This also makes them faster than public forums as the users are mainly trusted and verified personnel making the transactions verifiable faster.

One of Blockchain’s more important features is that it allows even the unrelated parties to carry out a transaction and share data through a mutual ledger. As cryptography validates the transactions, it makes it more efficient for participants not to rely on third-party evaluators to carry out a transaction. Deploying cryptography ensures that data transactions are secure, incorruptible, and irreversible once recorded.

Artificial Intelligence is not a term making rounds for a decade now. It very much comprises of every new technology that has near-human intelligence to carry out a task. AI models are used to assess, understand, classify, and predict using relevant data sets. Machine learning then cleanses the data as it gathers insights creating better useful data sets for use.

As it is evident, data is the central component to AI and Blockchain that allows a secure and collaborative effort towards data sharing. Both Blockchain and AI ensure the trustworthiness of data and extract valuable insights from it.

How Microsoft is Improving Machine Learning for Blockchain

According to the research conducted at Microsoft, the company is working on finding out ways to design efficient collaborative machine learning models hosted on public blockchains. The incentive behind this effort is to make AI decentralized and a more collaborative forum using Blockchain.

While there is no doubt that advances are being made in machine learning, the benefits that are being created as the results of these efforts are not as openly available. The masses have limited resources and cannot always access cutting-edge technology such as machine learning systems.

Such systems are highly centralized and used as the proprietary datasets. Not only are they costly to recreate, but even the best models can become outdated if not consistently refreshed with new data.

The idea is to allow advanced AI models and bigger datasets to be easily accessible, sharable, updated and retrained to increase the adoption, acceptance, and overall effectiveness of AI. People will soon be able to adopt this easy and cost-effective method to run and access advanced machine learning models through regular devices such as laptops and smartphone browsers and collectively participate in improving data sets and models.

Therefore, Microsoft is keen on developing what they call a Decentralized & Collaborative AI on the Blockchain framework. It will significantly increase AI community collaborations to retrain such models with valuable datasets on public blockchains. The machine learning models would be made free for public use as they would know the code they are interacting with.

Some applications that Microsoft is looking forward to integrating are virtual assistants and recommender systems like used by Netflix to recommend shows to its audience. Considering such models, Blockchain makes sense because of the increased security and how trustworthy it is for the participants.

The well-established nature of the blockchain system and the associate smart contracts ensure that the models will always perform up to the specific requirement. As the models are consistently updated on the Blockchain used unhinged by the user’s local device, every user gets to see the one genuine version of the model.

Hence, even though Microsoft’s framework isn’t favorable for operating at large scale for now, but sooner or later, it will be the norm. There is little to no doubt that organizations like Microsoft are doing advanced research and practical work to converge AI and cryptosystems like Blockchain. There is no doubt that cryptocurrency is the future of money. So it is in the best interests of the organization to start working on merging Blockchain and AI for improved benefits.

How can an organization merge Blockchain and AI?

Just as Microsoft, more advancement is made for combining Blockchain and AI for fulfilling specific usage requirements. Such cases will depend on the company’s specific needs, but the core preference would be related to data. This will allow companies to improve their digital and data capabilities by developing a combination of AI and Blockchain solution to fit their operations.

The very first step needs to be taken by the executives to identify the specific business needs and whether creating an AI and Blockchain system would address that need. This can become easier if the organization has already worked on AI and taken initiatives in other operations because now you can integrate Blockchain to improve them.

Similarly, if the company owns valuable data, they can monetize by converging a blockchain environment and sharing the data with AI model creators. For instance, a progressive car company like Tesla probably has a good collection of valuable data collected by its cars. They can put it on a blockchain system as their self-driving cars will continue to collect huge amounts of data that they can use to improve the neural networks powering self-driving operations and functions.

With a trusted name as Tesla, the public would not be too complacent about maintaining their privacy. Blockchain would allow the company to make the driver information anonymous to ensure privacy while collecting data to improve neural nets in use.

The company can even share anonymous data with car insurance companies. It would allow the insurers to price their insurance packages for self-driving cars more efficiently and with an educated mind, given how the risk profile of a self-driving car is different from that of a regular car.

The whole packaged win-win situation here is that where the company would improve its cars, the public would get advanced transportation, complete privacy, and the right insurance for the right price without getting exploited.

Using Digital Investment Assets for Trading through Blockchain

You must be already aware of how Blockchain is already a ready-made, and good-to-go digital ledger used to store and trade financial instruments such as cryptocurrencies and cryptographic tokens. However, Blockchain is still a nascent technology, been only around for a few years. Where cryptocurrency has definitely taken the world by storm, cryptographic tokens are comparatively more nascent.

Hence, it is evident that there is no probable activity and enough data yet to apply AI to financial products like a cryptocurrency that are traded through Blockchain. However, the upgrading technology and data sets show a promising future for AI taking insights from these data sets to create financial products and trade them autonomously.

How can an organization merge Blockchain and AI?

The convergence of artificial intelligence and Blockchain would be a huge step forward, and the process will cover four distinct yet inter-linked stages.

Stage I: Proof of concepts

Stage II: Asset tokenization

Stage III: Digital Investment Assets DIA

Stage IV: AI agents trading DIA

The four stages will represent how Blockchain is proof of concepts initially. On the second stage, assets are tokenized and traded. Tokens can represent underlying security methods, physical assets, cash flows, and utilities. This reduces the alleged transaction cost and decreases the time taken for settlement to improve audit accountability.

AI and Blockchain Applications

There is no denying that a decade back if someone would have presented us with an idea of magical internet money called crypto in the future, we would have laughed and made fun of the person for coming up with Superman and Kryptonite theories. Fast forward to ten years down the line, and cryptocurrency not only exists, but there are real-world integrations of its blockchain system with AI.

Smart computing power

Think of a machine learning code that would upgrade and retrain when given the right data. That is exactly what AI affords the users to tackle tasks more efficiently and intelligently.

Diverse data sets

The combination of Blockchain and AI can create smarter and decentralized networks to host various data sets. Creating a blockchain API would enable the intercommunication of AI agents resulting in diverse codes and algorithms to be built upon diver data sets, ensuring development.

Data protection

It doesn’t matter if data is medical or financial. Certain data types are too sensitive to be handled by a single company and their coding system. Storing such data on a blockchain and accessed through AI would give its users a huge advantage of personalized recommendations, suggestions, and notifications while securely storing data.

Data monetization

Data monetization would make both AI and advance Blockchain easily accessible to smaller companies. As of now, developing and growing AI is costly for organizations, especially those who do not own data sets. A decentralized market would create space such companies for which it is otherwise too expensive.

Trusting AI for decision making

AI is growing smarter with time. Through the use of blockchain systems like crypto, transactions will become smarter, making the process easier to audit.

Conclusion

All in all, the collaborative effort of blockchain technology and AI is still majorly an undiscovered territory. One of the main reasons why we still have yet to see a commercialized joint adoption of the Blockchain system and artificial intelligence is that the upscale implementation of their convergence is quite challenging.

Many businesses, although having ventured on with AI, are skeptical when it comes to conjoining Blockchain. They are in their early stages for testing the waters for AI and Blockchain coming together in isolation. As they continue to figure it out for appropriate public distribution, the convergence of the two technologies has had its fair share of scholarly attention as well. Yet still, projects solely developed to promote the groundbreaking match are still primarily not catered to.

There is no doubt that the potential of this combination is clearly there and developing, but how it will play out for future public use can be anybody’s call.

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Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as a Junior Finance advisor at Crowd Writer, an excellent platform to get assignment help UK. She is a self-proclaimed crypto-influencer. She has gained significant expertise and knowledge in this regard over the years and likes to share it with an interested audience.