honos+vineyards featured in: VINOGRAPHY: a wine blog - April Edition

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honos+vineyards featured in: VINOGRAPHY: a wine blog - April Edition

VINOGRAPHY®: a wine blog

If you are looking for an intimate, off the grid, winery experience then look no further. The valley is full of small production, family-owned, boutique-style wineries. 95% of Napa Valley wineries are family owned and 67% of Napa Valley wineries produce fewer than 5,000 cases annually.

It was a hard task to narrow this down, but if we had to choose, these are the best small wineries to visit (be sure to make an appointment before you go):

1. Crocker & Starr Winery
Found in St. Helena, Crocker & Starr produces a very small production of wines from their historic organic vineyards that they have been farming since the 1870’s. Try their Al Fresco tasting experience that includes vineyard views with cheese and charcuterie.

2. Chateau Lane Winery
This newly opened winery is hidden deep within the Coombsville District. They feature a beautiful outdoor terrace with spectacular vineyard views. Take a horseback ride through their vineyards prior to your tasting or try the cigar and wine pairing.

3. honos+vineyards
In the heart of Stags Leap Appellation on Silverado Trail right outside of Yountville, taste your way through their delicious wines in the beautiful tasting room and terrace. Take a full tour to see the caves and learn how the family makes their wines.

4. Judd’s Hill Winery
The Finkelstein’s started producing wine in the 1970’s and now their son Judd and his wife Holly are at the helm as they continue to handcraft their delicious Napa Valley wines. You can find them right on Silverado trail in Napa.

5. Eleven Eleven Wines
This modern yet unconventional tasting room is nestled in the town of Napa among the vines. Come taste through their wines with a little cheese pairing and enjoy their beautiful new tasting room. 

6. Salvestrin Winery
The Salvestrin’s have been growing grapes on their historic St. Helena vineyards since 1932. They produce organically farmed grapes and quality, handcrafted wines. Currently three generations are living on the 26-acre property. 

7. Holman Cellars
This small winery at the southern end of Napa produces a limited number of wines ranging from Cabernet Blends to unusual 100% varietal selections. Taste wine with the owners and learn about the beauty and the challenges of small production wines where all wines are processed by hand.

8. Elizabeth Spencer
This small red brick tasting room on Rutherford road features a beautiful outdoor terrace for seated tasting among their gardens. Sample through a variety of their wines or try their Cabernet Appellation tasting to sample through their five different Cabernet Sauvignons.

9. Nichelini Winery
This serene, rustic winery was established in 1890 and is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the valley. Nichelini wines are so rarely offered to the public, that purchasing their small lot wines from the property is a very special treat.

10. Villa Ragazzi Winery
Specializing in Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon based wines, this winery is sure to impress. Right off Silverado trail, be sure to make an appointment to try the Sangiovese wines, which isn’t often found in the valley.

Click here for more information on honos+vineyards and punk'd cellars

 

 

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4 Ways Drones Are Changing The Marketing Industry

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4 Ways Drones Are Changing The Marketing Industry

4 Ways Drones Are Changing The Marketing Industry

Drones are an emerging technology. Only in the last few years, have marketers been able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by drones in advertising brands and products.

Even in such a short amount of time, marketers have been able to figure out different ways to use drones in their marketing strategies. Some of these ways, while still in their infancy, show a huge potential for the future of marketing. Find out which ones!

How Are Drones  Being Used In The Marketing Industry?

Drones as a physical medium: they are used to physically reach consumers in new and innovative ways. Disruption potential: medium

Drones as actors: they are used by marketers in video commercials as surprising flying objects bringing the “wow” factor. Disruption potential: low

Drones as videographer tools: they are used in commercials to produce innovative video content and offer new perspectives. Disruption potential: high

Drones as a hub of emerging technologies: integrated with other technologies (such as VR/AR*, cloud, IoT* etc), drones are opening the path to disruptive ways to gather data and market to target audiences. Disruption potential: huge!

 

 

#marketing #advertising #tech #drones #drone #dji #dronefly #dronephotography #dronelife #dronegear #aerialphotography #aerial #quadcopter #camera #film #dronestagram #gopro #fpv #freeflysystems #videography #djiglobal #djiphantom #dronesdaily #startup #startups #creative #webdesign

 

 

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What’s the difference between CX and UX?

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What’s the difference between CX and UX?

The difference between CX and UX? You Better Know

Customer loyalty has changed significantly in the last decade. Businesses exist in an increasingly customer-led environment: the rapid evolution of technology, along with a coming-of-age of millennial consumers has had a transformative effect on customer expectations. And one of the biggest components of this expectation is the idea of customer experience.

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all interactions a customer has with your business, and should be distinguished from user experience (UX), which is the experience that the user (your customer) has with a specific product or service of yours.

When we talk about user experience (UX) – using our tech startup in Manchester as the example – we’re talking about desktop software, mobile apps and the website browser that your customer encounters and interacts with. We need to ask the following questions: How intuitive is the interface? Is it easy to use and navigate? Is it clear in its information architecture? Does it solve the correct problem? Does it provide the right service?

Any business that wishes to remain competitive in this new landscape needs to understand the difference between customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX), and be able to adapt their business practices accordingly.

So, why is customer experience more important than ever? Research from former Gartner analyst Esteban Kolsky has suggested that 55 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. Absence of feedback or complaints doesn’t necessarily mean satisfaction – indifference really is the opposite of love. Sixty-seven percent of customers cite bad experiences as reason for churn and it is six to seven times more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing customers.

Whatever your business, be it a burger joint in Manhattan or a small tech firm in Manchester, you need to provide value and differentiation. That’s how you stand out in any market – even the most crowded. And today, it seems that customer experience is the last source of differentiation. So, be outstanding.

Let’s look in more detail at how CX differs from UX and why that matters to you, and more importantly, to your customers.
As stated previously, CX takes into account the entire experience that your customer has when they deal with you and your brand, not solely the product. Yes, in the old days that meant walking into your burger place and rating the food, the service and the price. This would be the whole of the customer experience, right? It’s the same basic principle, but now what a customer can rate you on is much broader, and crucially they can decide not to walk into your business way before they even see the restaurant or the menu. Points to consider are: What is the first point of contact for your potential customers? How easy is it for customers to find answers to their questions? How pleasant and professional is the interaction process? Do they feel positive about their overall experience and everything associated with your organization? What role is new media, like Facebook and Twitter, having on your customer points of contact?

What makes your users ‘users’ (or the person eating at the burger restaurant) is that they are involved in using your product. What makes them customers has to do with everything else. What’s important to keep in mind is your customers’ entire journey with your organization. In fact, your customer may not even use your service before they are turned off: CX takes in potential customers and their experiences before they put hands near wallets. The customer journey now begins much sooner than it might have even five years ago. Thanks to things like social media and the digital transformation at large, customers can now encounter your business in a wider variety of ways and can be delighted or put off before they even get near your product.

If UX is one important pillar under the roof of CX, then both are very important. If your UX is poor, then people will think twice about your services. However, even if your website is fast and well signposted, your app convenient to use, your burger the best in town, if you have an ill-tempered or unprofessional customer service team at the helm when someone calls to inquire or complain, you are going to struggle to attract the numbers your product deserves, or to cement such loyalty as we mentioned above.

So, like any complicated relationship, UX and CX need each other in more ways than we might at first realize. Both are vital parts of your business’s growth, so don’t mix them up: treat them with the attention that they deserve, and you’ll reap the benefits.

original article

#webdesign #socialmediamarketing #design #website #branding #graphicdesign #marketing #webdesigner #web #brand #socialmedia #graphicdesigner #business #entrepreneur #seo #digitalmarketing #art #webdevelopment #inspiration #startup #contentmarketing #entrepreneurs #startups #creative #technology #digitalmarketing #social #brand #smallbusiness #thehonosgroup

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Web Design Trends for 2017

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Web Design Trends for 2017

Is Your Site Employing Any of These Trends?

It's quite common among designers to believe that following trends is a crucial part of their job. Being constantly up-to-date is seen as mandatory. Many designers evaluate the work of others through a prism of trends - tagging something as #old can be seen as an insult, as if not fitting the most recent style would automatically make the whole project less valuable.

However, there are reasons to follow the trends. Visiting such websites as Awwwards, FWA or CSS design awards may inspire you and as a result, help you to venture outside of your design habits. You can learn about the new visual worlds, which you can then (consciously or not) integrate with your graphic language. Watching the work of others helps you to keep on improving your skills while being up-to-date when it comes to the latest technologies.

In the last year or two, it has become noticeable that many designers are trying to move away from simple and closed compositions. More and more open-styled, seemingly chaotic, “broken” and cut compositions are being created. The previously worshiped grid lost its importance and its rules were deliberately and consciously bent. Content started to be shifted, seemingly moved, its parts sometimes overlapped and intermingled.

A great role in this process is played by the evolution of Canvas and WebGL. Modern projects are often a bit confusing, less intuitive than the minimalist ones, but they make a really strong, lasting impression on users.

What else is waiting for us in web design in 2017? Check out the rest of the predictions.

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How design can boost clients' profits

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How design can boost clients' profits

How design can boost clients' profits

For a client, the success of a design project usually hinges not on acclaim, but sums. No matter how many Yellow Pencils, social media mentions or column inches a project tots up, it’s hard for a client to see true value for money unless the work boosts their profits by generating cold, hard cash.

According to a 2013 report by the Design Council, for every £1 a client spends on design, they reap over £4 in net operating profit, over £20 net turnover and over £5 in net exports. The same study also reveals that two-thirds of companies that ignore design have to compete mainly on price, whereas that’s true of only one third where design is integral to the business.

Earn more with the designer's guide to money!

To designers, the benefits of creative work are obvious, but convincing a client that it will yield a return on investment requires tangible statistics from previous outcomes. However, whether it’s a commercial campaign that shifted a larger than average volume of products, a charity campaign that raised a considerable sum of money or a high-profile rebrand that can be credited for helping reverse the fortunes of a business, measuring effectiveness can be a slippery task. 

Part of the problem is that design work rarely exists in a vacuum. Separating the power of a well-timed rebrand from the appeal of a good product or service, and the consumer trends surrounding it, is often nigh-on impossible. It might be possible to measure a packaging design overhaul's impact on sales figures, but a rebrand is an investment that could take years to pay off – and sometimes in ways that aren’t immediately apparent or easy to measure.

Laying the right foundations

Dedicating some time to assessing brand health before you even start thinking about the creative side is an investment that will pay dividends when it comes to measuring how much you’ve improved a client’s bottom line. When it comes to qualitative data, interviews and focus groups that establish desirability, satisfaction and aesthetics are the keystones of ROI measurement – but when calculating bang for buck, quantitative metrics need to be finely tuned to the client’s business objectives. 

“I think where design fails a lot is where it doesn’t connect to organizational goals,” says Hulse & Durrell partner Greg Durrell, whose rebrand of the Canadian Olympic Team led to overwhelming financial and social success. “If you start with aesthetics and style, it’s not going to create meaningful change. Knowing where the business needs to go can really help define your path.”

The strength of a brand overhaul isn’t just in the finished outcome

How you define success – as well as your approach, and most likely the creative itself – is going to be different depending on whether your client wants to sell more products, break into a new market, increase its attractiveness to sponsors or buyers, cultivate brand loyalty or amplify social media clout. But remember, the strength of a brand overhaul isn’t just in the finished outcome, but in helping clients see their strengths and weaknesses, and streamlining their operation throughout the process. 

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” adds Durrell. “Foundational branding work is largely about the long-term goal, but what rebrands can do is be that rallying point for an organization to change.”

Next page: discover four ways in which design can help contribute to a client’s financial health...

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10 Perceptions Outdated Websites Create That Damage Credibility

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10 Perceptions Outdated Websites Create That Damage Credibility

1. “They’re going out of business”

Where’s the latest blog? Press release? Social media status? Upcoming sale? New product release?

“No news is good news” is certainly not applicable here.

This silence gets people wondering if the company is dying a slow death (even if their books show skyrocketing profitability!)

2: “Their customer support will be terrible”

If customer support is imperative to an organization, don’t you think their website should make it easy to get that support?

“78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” (Source: American Express Survey, 2011)

Outdated websites come laced with wrong phone numbers, hidden email addresses, broken contact forms and confusing navigation — all red flags, especially to a prospective customer.

3. “The company must be OK with the status quo”

Consumer expectations are high, especially in retail. “Shoppers want to experience a brand online as they do within the store.”

A company OK with an outdated website feels like a company OK with just doing enough to get by. Technology companies in particular might be labeled “status quo” which cheapens their products/services.

4. “They just aren’t with it”

Though being “with it” is difficult to translate into practical meaning (and sounds like teenager speak), it’s still a gut reaction that damages credibility.

Being “with it” could mean a variety of things, but my guess it’s related to the website’s design — a factor with significant persuasion.

Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab found that almost half (46%) of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning credibility.

5. “They have technology incompetence”

We all live in the Digital Age, but using technology isn’t always easy.

A recent WSJ study found more than half (54%) of small to mid-sized businesses are concerned with “technology outpacing their ability to compete”.

Technology can’t be ignored. Especially on a website.

Outdated websites typically run old technologies (e.g. Flash, Frames, Hit Counters) and give the impression the company hasn’t left 1999. This creates the perception that the company faces similar technology incompetence — which impacts almost every single aspect of today’s business.

6. “They won’t keep my data safe and secure”

An outdated website tends to forget about the details, even the critical ones like keeping their SSL certificate renewed (which allows the URL to securely shift to https://).

Negligence with security (like an expired SSL certificate) leads to skepticism when giving up sensitive information such as name, email address, phone number and — especially — debit/credit card information.

7. “They must not be proud of their company”

When you interact with an updated and lively website, you can almost feel it. The company’s executives (especially if there’s thought leadership) and their employees feel proud to be part of things.

The website is an extension of their organization.

Outdated websites don’t represent organizations well because they send an apathetic message — which might not be an accurate measure of pride within the organization.

8. “There’s no buzz”

Most people like to buy from companies that are exciting and have a “buzz” to them. I’m sure you’ve heard of Apple?

This buzz is especially important in the B2C (Business to Consumer) sector where emotion has a dramatic role in marketing. Existing and prospective customers want to — sometimes unknowingly — be part of something buzzworthy.

This brand excitement is hard to see and hear without an updated website.

9. “They’re not good enough for my money.”

This perception feels a bit harsh, but I’m getting the impression that consumers just don’t care anymore. An organization with an outdated website is simply, bad business.

This study found that 35% of consumer walked away from a small business because of its poor website. Let me repeat. Over 1/3 of them WALKED AWAY.

The old fashioned business approach can only go so far without a solid website

10. “I could never work for a company like this”

An outdated website will impact a company’s ability to attract, recruit and retain talent. I know this perception exists because I’ve seen it first hand with my clients

One client’s leadership was galvanized because a hot recruit verbally trashed their outdated website, and another (Stanford Careers) made it clear that it was the #1 reason for hiring ProtoFuse.

An amazing work culture and competitive pay may, in fact, be a reality for a recruit, but this perception stops the conversation from even starting.

 

original article

 

 

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     The headline above is a lie. Recent studies have shown that given the increasing speed of the Internet, websites now have less than 0.03 seconds to impress a visitor. Less than a split second to invite someone to stay and make themselves at home. Less than a second to have them take a look at your company, your service or your products.  With this limitation in mind, do you think your current website design will keep your customers or will they leave your site and never return again? Once on your website, there is no guarantee that your one time visitor will become a permanent customer. Before you launch that site, check the following:  Check Your Loading Times If your site is too heavy to load in a few seconds, chances are your customers do not even wait to see it. They look at the little icon and close the window. Of all web design functionalities, loading times are the most critical. People are no longer patient. They no longer have to deal with dial-up modems or slow Internet service. They do not need your slow site in their lives, unless you are their bank or a service they desperately need.  Many countries, even those classified as underdeveloped countries, enjoy high-speed Broadband internet, Wi-Fi and even LTE (Long Term Evolution or 4G) mobile Wi-Fi. And you cannot be bothered to fix your site so it loads just a fifth of a second faster.  Improve Your Color Scheme Attractive design never fails to attract visitors. Humans are drawn to color and have many different psychological reactions to different hues. A fresh palette attracts visitors and gives them a subliminal impression about the website, what it is for and what to expect from it.  Color schemes also affect readability, so make sure to test your color schemes on your target market.  A Well-Designed Header Does your header have impact? Does it tell your visitors what your website is about? Headers are important because they typically load first, even in the 1/10 of a second. They often contain the site's title and images that embody the website's personality. Headers or the top half of the site design (usually referred to as the part above the fold) should contain your company logo, navigation tools or search tools and other important features.  Do You Feel Familiar?  Avant-garde is good, but some people will recoil if they encounter a website with a layout so revolutionary they have no idea where to click. Clean, simple architecture is key to a great first impression and gives your visitor a concrete idea of what your website is for the moment the front page loads.  Keep in mind that this does not mean that your website has to be boring -- really. A great web design company can help you stick to convention but give the user a great user experience by playing with different design elements.  Are You Recognizable? Is your marketing campaign cohesive? Is your customer able to identify your website offhand? Do they recognize what you are immediately or are you asking them to figure it out first? Or do you disguise your website as a blog when in reality you are an ecommerce site?  Recognizing the type of website they are on is key to a better user experience. Some companies and some websites like to make their customers guess by including strange navigation elements or vague copy on the front page. Confusing your customer will not do you any good.  Are You Appealing? Visiting a website for the first time is like going on the first date -- first impressions last. Is your website's look and feel something that will keep users engaged? Often, a complex layout with multiple ads, too much content, small fonts and ugly design is the number one reason customers do not stay.  Poor design is a sign of laziness and is a sign that companies have given more thought to what they want instead of what the customer wants. Visual appeal is rated higher than content, but only for first impressions. Later on, what matters is what is on the website.  First impressions last, this is true for all humans who meet face to face and for all websites. Make sure you give the best first impression you can by appealing to your customer's visual sense and making it easy to be recognized.   original article

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0-3 seconds to impress your customer.png

The headline above is a lie. Recent studies have shown that given the increasing speed of the Internet, websites now have less than 0.03 seconds to impress a visitor. Less than a split second to invite someone to stay and make themselves at home. Less than a second to have them take a look at your company, your service or your products.

With this limitation in mind, do you think your current website design will keep your customers or will they leave your site and never return again? Once on your website, there is no guarantee that your one time visitor will become a permanent customer. Before you launch that site, check the following:

Check Your Loading Times
If your site is too heavy to load in a few seconds, chances are your customers do not even wait to see it. They look at the little icon and close the window. Of all web design functionalities, loading times are the most critical. People are no longer patient. They no longer have to deal with dial-up modems or slow Internet service. They do not need your slow site in their lives, unless you are their bank or a service they desperately need.

Many countries, even those classified as underdeveloped countries, enjoy high-speed Broadband internet, Wi-Fi and even LTE (Long Term Evolution or 4G) mobile Wi-Fi. And you cannot be bothered to fix your site so it loads just a fifth of a second faster.

Improve Your Color Scheme
Attractive design never fails to attract visitors. Humans are drawn to color and have many different psychological reactions to different hues. A fresh palette attracts visitors and gives them a subliminal impression about the website, what it is for and what to expect from it.

Color schemes also affect readability, so make sure to test your color schemes on your target market.

A Well-Designed Header
Does your header have impact? Does it tell your visitors what your website is about? Headers are important because they typically load first, even in the 1/10 of a second. They often contain the site's title and images that embody the website's personality. Headers or the top half of the site design (usually referred to as the part above the fold) should contain your company logo, navigation tools or search tools and other important features.

Do You Feel Familiar? 
Avant-garde is good, but some people will recoil if they encounter a website with a layout so revolutionary they have no idea where to click. Clean, simple architecture is key to a great first impression and gives your visitor a concrete idea of what your website is for the moment the front page loads.

Keep in mind that this does not mean that your website has to be boring -- really. A great web design company can help you stick to convention but give the user a great user experience by playing with different design elements.

Are You Recognizable?
Is your marketing campaign cohesive? Is your customer able to identify your website offhand? Do they recognize what you are immediately or are you asking them to figure it out first? Or do you disguise your website as a blog when in reality you are an ecommerce site?

Recognizing the type of website they are on is key to a better user experience. Some companies and some websites like to make their customers guess by including strange navigation elements or vague copy on the front page. Confusing your customer will not do you any good.

Are You Appealing?
Visiting a website for the first time is like going on the first date -- first impressions last. Is your website's look and feel something that will keep users engaged? Often, a complex layout with multiple ads, too much content, small fonts and ugly design is the number one reason customers do not stay.

Poor design is a sign of laziness and is a sign that companies have given more thought to what they want instead of what the customer wants. Visual appeal is rated higher than content, but only for first impressions. Later on, what matters is what is on the website.

First impressions last, this is true for all humans who meet face to face and for all websites. Make sure you give the best first impression you can by appealing to your customer's visual sense and making it easy to be recognized.

original article

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‘Coding is dead, automation the real deal’

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‘Coding is dead, automation the real deal’

 

 

If you’ve been spending years learning a programming language such as Java or .Net, there’s a message for you from your potential employers: “Coding is dead”.

Yes, coding as we know it, may not longer be relevant in the world taken over by machine learning and automation. “Coding is dead. I don’t need to do any native development anymore,” Nitin Rakesh, newly appointed CEO of IT services firm Mphasis, told BusinessLine.

‘Cloud first’

“Large public platforms such as AWS, Salesforce.com etc, are the ones where the future of all the development will be. If you talk to a bank, they are doing code writing on native Java, sitting on a Unix machine anymore. The simple view is to be cloud first, mobile first,” he said.

Billions of lines of open source codes are freely available for programmers, which can be reused the way we put Lego blocks together to create a building model.

Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner and National Head (Technology and BPM), at KPMG, says: “It is true the way we program today may not exist in the near future, as there’ll be more of reusable code that’ll be in play. However, you will require some level of programming knowledge to understand how to put these blocks together and make sense of them.”

Application platforms such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft’s Azure and IBM’s Watson, make it easy for engineers to build code in a rapid way by simply using existing pieces of code or simply a combination of multiple tools. Automation simplifies the task further by testing your code with the click of a button, which would’ve otherwise taken days to test.

“That’s why platforms become more important. Whether it is Java or .Net, it will be more configuration than coding. If you look at Node.JS, it is a script of Java. With that you’re not doing native coding but just using existing routines and put it together,” Rakesh said.

IT firms following suit

Mphasis is not the only company trying to change the way it trains its employees and see automation more important than native programming skills. Larger IT services companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro are also embarking on re-skilling lakhs of employees on digital technologies that train them on how to use agile methodologies, using more of reusable code to achieve the goals faster.

“If you look at delivery in digital, it is about design thinking, agile, rapid prototyping and everything that is fast and furious. The way we have designed our delivery so far is not fast and furious,” Patrick Nicolet, Group Executive Board member, Capgemini, had earlier told BusinessLine. Nicolet highlighted the importance of automation in order to survive in the current environment.

However, a world without the need of native coding skills does not mean we’ll not need programmers. The reuse of code will further help in reducing dependency on programming skills of individuals.

“The native coding capability will be required but people will need to understand how to reuse code rather than build it. That’s how you reduce your time to market by using existing code.

Our training would also have to align with the platform approach,” Rakesh said.

(This article was published on February 17, 2017)

 

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The Best Super Bowl 2017 Commercials Already Released

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The Best Super Bowl 2017 Commercials Already Released

Oh, the drama! Oh, the excitement! Oh, the household names! No, I’m not talking about football, I’m talking about the commercials that are sprinkled throughout the football. Whether you are into the actual game taking place on the field on Super Bowl Sunday, or whether you are more into the Puppy Bowl, everybody loves a good Super Bowl commercial–which are often filled with surprises, new products, and delightful cameos. At a sticker-shocking price tag of $5.02 million per 30-second spot, they better be good.

While some companies save their Super Bowl ads for the big game, others release their commercials early. Below, we’ve collected some of the most exciting spots released so far.

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