New Jewelry Line from Designer / Entrepreneur Vivian Storms

Features One-of-a-Kind Sculptural Artwork from Acclaimed Cold Glass Artist Jack Storms

Even though Vivian Storms has accomplished much in her young life — she’s only 31 — including being a child star in her native Brazil, a publisher, CEO, manager of an art gallery, marketing expert, fashion designer, and mother, she never imagined she’d become a designer of her own jewelry line.

Viv Storms Fine Jewelry launched its new line of exceptional jewelry, fashioned from one-of-a-kind, original cold-glass artwork produced by her business partner, artist Jack Storms, on Aug. 1.

There were 500 pieces available, with five different designs for necklaces, rings, cuff links, earrings and pendants, all affordably priced starting at $500, and up. A pre-sale was launched on Aug. 1, with 360-degree videos of the pieces on the website www.vivstorms.com. Those who pre-ordered pieces received several perks, including deep discounts and entry into a giveaway of a $15,000 Jack Storms sculpture. Pre-ordered pieces will be delivered on Nov. 1. A portion of the proceeds of the pre-sale will go to charity.

“We have an amazing team of designers helping me take this crazy idea of a jewelry line based on fine art from a piece of paper to reality,” said Vivian about the process of creating the line.

Over the last decade, Jack has become a dominant force in the landscape of cold-glass art. The effect of his work is palpable. Take one look at any of his masterpieces, and it’ll become obvious that, aside from technical prowess, there’s something else at work. It’s that artistry that Vivian, the brains behind the Storms company, thought of harnessing three years ago.

Vivian believed Jack’s craft had a lot more to offer, so she set herself the task of reinterpreting his art and expanding the reach of the Storms name. Rendered in jewelry form, Jack’s art could be worn, carried and someday even passed down. With this venture, Vivian also combined two of her greatest passions: art and fashion.

But the scale of Jack’s sculptures and their sheer weight posed a challenge. Taking Jack’s work and striving for the same excellence — and the same painful precision and meticulous attention to detail — in a fraction of the size was by no means an easy task. The former husband-and-wife duo worked feverishly, side-by-side, to translate Jack’s creation into stones as small as 8mm. It took two and a half years, and various episodes of trial and error, to develop and perfect the process, but Vivian’s jewelry line is finally slated to launch in November.

With the brilliantly reflective core in mind, Vivian dreamed up the designs — which come in gold, silver and platinum — for her debut line, her first foray into fine jewelry.

In the Sophia collection, the stones drive the narrative and dictate the settings. The collection makes good use of simple, modern lines and contemporary features, all executed with an obsession with quality and elegance.

The Aria collection, on the other hand, sings another tune. While the stone is still the star attraction, it works hand-in-hand with ornate settings to display all facets of the duo’s vivid imagination. Here, Vivian opts for drama, in place of more minimalist design elements. The shimmering, light-catching stones are presented in romantic, storybook-like settings adorned with intricate scrollwork.

Manufactured entirely in the United States, between Los Angeles and Miami, both collections boast a timeless aesthetic, a true embodiment of outstanding work at the service of a radical vision.

When asked why someone should buy her jewelry, what with so many jewelry lines on the market, Vivian didn’t hesitate to answer.

“Because they are buying a piece of art from the foremost cold glass artist in the world,” she said. “These pieces do not exist anywhere else in the world. Every one of these pieces is different, they’re all original pieces of art, made by a master sculptor, one of only three in the world. The colors are just surreal.”

Vivian says she has more of an overarching view of the jewelry line than just selling necklaces and rings, beautiful and intricate as they are.

“It’s always been about bringing enlightenment with Jack’s art, it really changes people’s perception of everything, it’s more than a sculpture, he’s able to create something truly unique,” said Vivian. “For me it’s about bringing this art to the world — to see, to believe and to see the beauty of art. To involve more people and have this work touch them.”

Visit Viv Storms Fine Jewelry at www.vivstorms.com.

The Blockchain Skill Gap: Do We Have What It Takes to Build the Tools of Tomorrow?

Written by Donika Kraeva

Donika Kraeva

Donika Kraeva

The demand for blockchain engineers is at an all-time high. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the market cap for cryptocurrency increased from $17.7 billion to $565.1 billion last year. Now that more startups are embracing decentralized systems and existing businesses are offering cryptocurrency-related services, there’s an increasing need for highly-skilled professionals. However, there seems to be a serious talent shortage in this field. That means the exponential growth of the industry has left companies competing for developers from the same tech pool.

So, what do we need to bridge the skill gap? 

The Rise of Blockchain Tech

Today, we see blockchain reshaping several industries like retail and healthcare. Non-profit organizations and government agencies are also catching up, using blockchain to encourage trust through open and transparent networks.

Juniper Research conducted a study and found that venture capital investments in Blockchain and Bitcoin tech reached $300 million in the first six months of 2016 alone. Within a year, more than $1 billion had been diverted towards the development of blockchain startups.

One of these startups – globally applied and thus widely discussed lately – is Dentacoin. It’s the world’s first blockchain-based platform offering numerous applications and an industry-specific cryptocurrency to improve the access to, as well as the quality of dental care worldwide. With its insurance-like model, patients can receive lifelong preventive care through inexpensive fees paid in the DCN currency. Moreover, patients who maintain good oral hygiene through their mobile app, take surveys on their market research platform or give detailed feedback to their dentists are rewarded with the cryptocurrency, that can be used for covering dental services at more than 60 locations globally. Dentacoin is an example of a blockchain company that has successfully combined the skills of blockchain developers and real industry specialists (dentists, healthcare marketing specialists) to gain traction globally within a short time period.  

Blockchain Training Programs

Despite being in its primary stages, blockchain is a rapidly evolving field, and even the academic world is aware of its potential. To bridge the skill gap in this area, universities all over the world are now working with private companies to provide blockchain-related training programs and courses.

Developers who are interested in acquiring blockchain skills will be able to do so through numerous open online courses. As mentioned, universities are also offering lectures to match the increasing demand of the job market. Stanford University, for instance, provides hands-on courses to developers, including a three-unit classroom lecture with lab sessions focused on Bitcoin applications.

Apart from these, there are even greater movements set in place to bridge the talent gap in the blockchain industry. Let’s take Ethereum for example. It provides an initiative program that rewards developers who delete bugs and security flaws with cryptocurrency. However, FundRequest took this approach up a notch when they started a decentralized platform for open source collaboration. Their goal is to get the entire community mobilized and engaged. From there, programmers who want to get involved with blockchain can find projects like SingularityNET, which aims to accelerate the growth of the network by offering bounties and initiatives.

Conclusion

Education and specialized training are the best solutions for addressing the shortage of blockchain talents. To bridge the gap, there must be a globalized approach to training programs. Courses must be made accessible to developers around the world. We would have a better shot at bridging the talent gap if we make more programs available today.

Bounties and development initiatives encourage programmers to take up skills that are in demand, especially relating to blockchain. But will these be enough to ensure the future of the entire industry?

To drive the industry forward, we must support blockchain research as well. Some of the most brilliant developers today have yet to acquire the skills to operate in this new space. When they do, they must have the resources to innovate and build the tools of tomorrow.

If You’re a Busy Journalist Who’s Pressed For Time, Check Out These 10+ Time-Saving Solutions!

From accurate transcription services to secure messaging apps and curated podcasts, here are a list of tools for the increasingly busy journalist 

With Donald Trump’s “fake news,” the WikiLeaks scandal, the troll farms and increasing pressures to produce more unique content faster – professional journalists are working harder than ever trying to distinguish facts from fake information, record and edit video interviews and meet tight deadlines.

Solutions such as Go Transcript, Tape a Call, and Threema will make life easier for any journalist and their increasing workloads – but what are the other alternative solutions on the market? 

Transcription

Transcription has long been the bane of all journalists, and almost a rite of passage to journalists starting out their career. Even in this age of smartphones, there are very few alternatives to just putting on a pair of headphones and getting on with writing up that ten-minute interview that will most likely take around an hour. One transcription tool used by journalists is Go Transcript - a transcription service best-known for providing human-driven solutions, with an accuracy rate of 99%. Go Transcript has also previously been favoured by internationally-recognized media outlets such as the BBC and the Huffington Post. Automated transcription is also a solution, with providers such as Trint and oTranscribe providing an AI-based alternative. However, AI-transcription providers programmes may lack in accuracy in the event of excessive background noise or multiple speakers.

Voice

Making voice recordings (interviews and phone calls) used to be a problem. It sometimes involved a smartphone or tablet, a quiet room, recording the voice through the computer, then transferring it to the smart device. Thankfully, those days are over – suggested ways to record inbound calls are Tape a Call (iOS), which allows for the immediate download of incoming and outgoing calls, whilst Automatic Call Recorder provides Android users with a similar solution. For a desktop alternative, there is Simple Recorder which is free. 

Secure messaging apps

WikiLeaks, Panama Papers and most recently, the Cambridge Analytica Scandal have all brought wider awareness to the need for encrypted messaging apps. WhatsAppTelegram, and Viber are the most recognized apps of this type, but there are a number of other paid and non-paid alternatives on the market. South Korea’s KakaoTalk is one such option available for iOS and Android, as is Signal. Another newcomer is Swiss-made Threema, which even allows users to pin-protect their messages, media files, and voice calls. Unlike Kakao and Signal, it is a paid app.

Video editing

With the age of the smartphone in full-swing, video journalism isn’t going anywhere. Whilst mobile video editing is currently unable to match the power of desktop software, there are still a number of good apps that will make a mobile video look much more professional than it would do in its original form. In addition to standard in-built software for iOS and Android, there are also apps such as Magisto for the storytelling journalist, and FilamoraGo, which has been developed by Filamore who are already widely-praised for their video software.

Podcasts

Additional data shows that 48% of 18-25 year olds and 48% of 25-34 year olds in 2018 listen to a news podcast on a monthly basis. Journalists are no exception here. With more and more news being consumed via podcasts, Spreaker curates podcasts based on listener behaviour, and Overcast provides users with a handsome UX that sadly lacks in curation features and 3D touch support.

With a seeming abundance of solutions on the market aimed at making journalists’ lives easier, there is an answer to any journalists’ needs – whether they’d be cutting their teeth in the industry after graduation, a freelancer, or a seasoned veteran. All it takes is some experimenting to figure out what suits their needs best.

Why Focusing on People and Data Might Be the Distraction Hackers Need to Infiltrate Big Business

Written by Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

Kim Del Fierro

Kim Del Fierro

We live in times when it’s become easier than ever for hackers to breach an organization through social engineering. Breaches are primarily caused by phishing attacks, representing a huge security problem for businesses.

But why is this type of cybercriminal so widely represented in the statistics? What is it that makes it so easy and so profitable for hackers? We might not like the answers. The ever-increasing connectivity and focus on people and data is leaving us vulnerable to malicious attacks. To protect your business, you need to start thinking like a hacker. Let’s take a look at how they infiltrate big business and what can be done about it.

How Social Engineering Works

Since social engineering relies on personal information hackers can find online, it’s pretty difficult to counter. Before; that required some digging on the hacker’s part – now all it takes is a data-matching service like Spokeo and PeekYou, and they get all the information they might need and more. Cross-matching public records is one thing, but employees also freely share a lot of information on social media. This personal info is then used to target employees within a company with malicious emails, by posing as a trusted individual. From there, all a hacker needs to do is convince an employee to click on a malicious link or perform a wire transfer.

Are Individual Threats the Same as Company Threats?

As we can see, cybercriminals can efficiently use your social media information to reach their desired target within your company. Does that mean company executives should stop using social media altogether, or ban their employees from sharing any work-related information?

The short answer is yes. The long answer, if not “yes,” is that there should be strict policies in place about the use of social networks and what can and can’t be shared. For example, if a company executive posts about being on a business trip, hackers take that as a signal to try and perform BEC. Anything an employee posts about work projects or people they spend time with in the office can help cybercriminals construct an elaborate and believable social engineering scam. It is why every employee must assume the whole world is watching them when they want to post anything work-related on social media.

The frequency of Social Engineering and Phishing

It’s no accident that social engineering and phishing attacks are responsible for 95 percent of data breaches. They exploit what will always be the weak link in any company’s security chain – the people who work there. Relying on traditional protective measures such as firewall, antivirus, anti-spoofing techniques, etc. cannot stop all of these attacks. Education is vital for prevention, but with these scams getting more elaborate and difficult to spot, it doesn’t ensure safety.

What Can Protect Your Business?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you didn’t have to worry about phishing? Good news, the worrying stops today. It seems challenging to prevent phish, but Area 1 Security offers an Anti-Phishing Service that finds and eliminates phish through a combination of web crawling and small pattern analytics. With Area 1 Horizon, your business will be safe, and you won’t be adding to the pool of $5.3 billion in losses due to phishing attacks last year.

With the ever-increasing focus on people and data, businesses are leaving themselves wide open to hackers. In those circumstances, there are two options – limiting the information hackers can get about you through social media, or investing in preemptive and comprehensive phishing protection. At Area 1 Security, we stop phishing for good.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. Names Beth Ford President and CEO  

Ford brings decades of experience across six different industries as the company seeks to build on its track record of sustainable growth

Beth Ford

Beth Ford

The Land O’Lakes, Inc. Board of Directors announced today its selection of Beth Ford as President and CEO of one of the nation’s largest food and agricultural cooperatives and #216 on the Fortune 500. Ford assumes leadership of the company following the retirement of Chris Policinski. Ford will assume the role of President and CEO effective Aug. 1.

Ford comes to the CEO role after a series of successful executive postings within the company. In December 2017, Ford was named Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes Businesses, in which role she oversaw Land O’Lakes’ WinField United, Purina Animal Nutrition and Dairy Foods business units. Prior to that, Ford was head of Land O’Lakes’ Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, where she led record performance and growth, leveraging innovation through R&D to strengthen both brands. She also was instrumental in the acquisition of Vermont Creamery in early 2017.

Prior to joining Land O’Lakes in 2011, Ford had excelled in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. Ford has more than 20 years’ experience specifically in the areas of technology and R&D, as well, across these four companies.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Beth earned an MBA at Columbia University Business School and a BBA at Iowa State University. She remains involved in both universities, sitting on the Deming Center Board of Advisors for Columbia Business School and the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the College of Business at Iowa State.

Ford also sits on the Board of Directors for the National Milk Producers Federation and non-profit boards, including Greater Twin Cities United Way in Minneapolis. She sits on the Boards of Directors of two publicly traded companies, including PACCAR, Inc.

Announcing her appointment, Board Chairman Pete Kappelman said, “At a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture and food industries, no person is better suited to lead us into the future than Beth Ford. Since joining our company in 2011, Beth has proven she’s not afraid of hard work, and she sees every challenge as an opportunity to deliver more value for our cooperative. She’s built a track record of success in a wide array of leadership roles across a decades-long career, and in her seven years at Land O’Lakes, she has earned the trust and respect of our members, employees and customers. We are thrilled to have someone of such strong qualifications and character to build on the legacy of growth that Land O’Lakes has established.”

Commenting on her appointment, Ford said, “I’m humbled and honored to have the chance to serve this great organization. I am grateful to the Board of Directors for their trust in me and for the management team that built the strong foundation we currently enjoy. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated leadership team, as well as our outstanding employees to deliver for our member-owners, customers and communities. There has never been a more exciting time to be in the agriculture and food industry. Together, our team will work to continue our growth trajectory, as we lead the way forward into the company’s next 100 years.”

Ford becomes the ninth CEO of Land O’Lakes, one of the nation’s largest agricultural cooperatives, which was founded in 1921. Ford and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, have three teenage children and live in Minneapolis.

About Land O’Lakes, Inc.  

Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2017 annual sales of $14 billion, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking 216 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 97 years of operation, Land O’Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including LAND O LAKES® Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Land O’Lakes SUSTAINTM. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O’Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minn.

How Two Rice Bowls and Four Chopsticks Turned Into a Billion-Dollar Business  

When the United States left Vietnam in 1975, it left behind a nation wracked with inflation, corruption and an identity crisis.  The country staggered through the 1980s as a socialist-capitalist country – it tried socialism first, then modified it with capitalism.

For the families that lived through the early post-American years in Vietnam, it was one crisis after another.  Yet one family not only survived and thrived, it built one of the largest businesses in Southeast Asia from scratch.

Phuong Tran

Phuong Tran

“My father started out with nothing more than two rice bowls and four chopsticks,” says Phuong Uyen Tran in her new book Competing with Giants, published by Forbes.

The company grew so large that Coca Cola wanted to buy it for more than $2 billion.

“He persevered because he had tenacity and placed his trust in his core values and people – his business associates, employees and customers.”

Her father, Tran Qui Thanh, is chairman and CEO of the beverage company Tan Hiep Phat (THP).  He turned down the offer from Coca Cola.  Thanh’s company now supplies beverages, including herbal and green teas, sports and energy drinks, soya milk and purified water across Vietnam plus 16 other countries, including China and Australia.  It is Vietnam’s largest family-owned manufacturer in the “Fast Moving Consumer Goods” category, employing more than 5,000 staff members nationwide.

“It is never easy to compete with giants,” says Phuong, “let alone face them down.” But her family legacy is a story that proves David can indeed compete with (and even outperform) Goliath. Watching her father turn down a sum of money most could never dream to see was an event that shaped Tran’s entire philosophy from that day forward.

What has Phuong learned from the family values her father always applies in business?

5 Family Values to Business Success:

  • Create an authentic local product.  Authentic local products are hard to beat.  That is because locals can beat the big guys in four critical areas – product, price, promotion and place.
  • Govern growth. Many companies on an upward trajectory just assume that their success will always continue.  The best companies prepare for the inevitable ups and downs of business by growing slowly and methodically.
  • Motivate employees and foster community spirit. As companies get bigger, they must focus on how their employees work with each other, as well as senior management and customers.
  • Adhere to standards. The best companies embrace standards rather than try to find ways to cut corners.  Her company adopted international standards for her products even though they were not forced to do so.
  • Take responsibility. The ultimate responsibility lies with each person at the business, regardless of if it is the owner, manager or employee.

Whether you start with rice bowls or owning the entire rice factory, scaling a business requires strategy, discipline and good old fashion family values.

About Phuong Uyen Tran

Phuong Uyen Tran, author of Competing with Giants (https://www.thp.com.vn/en/), is deputy CEO of the THP Beverage Group, a leading beverage company in Vietnam that was founded by her father. She is responsible for the company’s marketing, public relations, and CSR programs nationally and across Vietnam’s 63 provinces. She also leads THP’s international marketing programs across 16 countries where THP’s products are distributed including Canada and China.

How a Former Stuntman Became the Force Behind a Hit TV Show Building Unique Toys

Celebrity David Ankin shares how ingenuity can help fuel your business

People often find themselves in jobs where they know they don’t want to be for years to come. Yet many of those people are unsure what to do about it in order to move forward in the direction of a career of their dreams. For one former stuntman, he didn’t sit idly by and wish for a position he would be passionate about. Combining his passion for car shows that stemmed from his childhood with his ingenuity, he was able to take steps to create a career path that led to him having a hit television show building unique one-of-a-kind custom hot rods and cars for adults.

David Ankin

David Ankin

“I had to realize that being a stuntman wasn’t a long-term career. It was too hard on my body,” says David Ankin, inventor and star of the hit show ToyMakerz. “I decided to turn my passion into a career that I could grow in and others could also enjoy. Creativity is something that helped me get started in this field and remains a constant. Now the challenge is constantly coming up with something new and unique.”

Ingenuity, which is having the ability to be clever, original, or inventive, is what has propelled Ankin to the top of his field. But it’s not something that came to him overnight. In fact, he has been on the path since he was a child. Growing up without a lot of money, he wasn’t able to go out and buy the latest toy or car. But he also didn’t want his vehicles to look just like everyone else’s. That motivated him to learn to build his own. With his father as his inspiration, he hung out at his shop and watched in awe at the things that his dad could do.

As a child, Ankin also spent a lot of time being dedicated to bike and car shows. In fact, his idea of a vacation was working late into the night for six weeks to get ready for a bike or car show, then traveling halfway across the country and meeting up with other fabricators. When he wasn’t doing that, he was struggling to get his car or bike ready to win a race. At the end of the day, the factors that really influenced him on his journey are the industry itself and all the people and fabricators who no one will ever meet.

Today, his ingenuity has led to his company, ToyMakerz, where the toys are made, and has also been turned into a hit television show, where people can tune in and see him work his magic. Here are 5 ways that ingenuity can help fuel your business:

  1. Gets you noticed. With your business being set apart by being original, it will help get you noticed. People have become immune to everything being the same and they crave things that are different or stand out from the crowd. Whether it’s a restaurant, clothing line, or something else, being different will open the doors to a whole new audience.
  2. Helps with longevity. Those business leaders who are unique will be in a better position to roll with the punches. They don’t mind adapting and changing as the market demands. Rather than close up, they will be able to keep re-inventing themselves in order to keep thriving.
  3. Fuels decision making. Being able to come up with creative solutions to problems will help take a business to the next level. Those with ingenuity are not afraid to put their ideas out there, no matter how out of the box they may seem. Ultimately, that’s exactly what is needed to help grow their business.
  4. Offers drive. Business leaders with initiative have drive and determination. They are not afraid to take risks and they don’t wait around for someone else to make something happen. They come up with their own unique plans and put them in action to keep moving forward.
  5. Helps carve out opportunity. Whether fueled by your childhood passions or noticing what is missing in your city and wanting to make improvements, those with new ideas will create their own opportunity. They find a way to make things happen in the business world.

“The journey hasn’t been short or easy,” added Ankin. “It started as a childhood dream and has evolved over time. I happened to come across the right location to set up shop in Reidsville, NC, where the town and the people have been so supportive. Then, using ingenuity, I started assembling my team to help me grow my vision of ToyMakerz, and it’s still evolving today.”

ToyMakerz partnered with Source Digital to develop an app, which is helping fans connect with the show. Enhancing the viewer experience with new digital brand integrations, the ToyMakerz app lets fans connect with the cast, score exclusive deals on anything they see on the screen while they are watching the show live, and sharepictures of their own rides!

The ToyMakerz TV show, which is just weeks away from a major announcement, is currently re-airing episodes from season 2 On Demand on Velocity. ToyMakerz season one is also available on iTunes and Amazon. ToyMakerz is produced by Los Angeles based production company, Lucky13Cinematic. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: www.toymakerz.com.

About ToyMakerz

ToyMakerz is a company that makes toys for adults built for fun and speed. Some of their creations can be seen on the ToyMakerz hit television show focusing on the life and creations of Dave Ankin, a former stuntman who now makes toys for big boys. The company is co-owned by David Ankin and his business partner, David Young, and they create one-of-a-kind racing creations that Ankin visualizes and builds. ToyMakerz is currently being re-aired weekly on Velocity. For more information about ToyMakerz, visit the site at: www.toymakerz.com.

Hyundai Motor Company Partners with Autotalks to Develop Connectivity Technology for Increased Road Safety

  • Hyundai Motor invests in Autotalks to accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation V2X chipset for connected cars
  • V2X technology improves vehicle and road safety, mobility and is vital for autonomous driving

Hyundai Motor announced today its strategic partnership with Autotalks, a leading technology company specialized in the manufacturing of Vehicle to Everything (V2X) communication chipsets.  Hyundai Motor forms a strategic partnership with Autotalks through a direct investment to accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation chipset for connected cars. Hyundai is expanding partnerships in the connectivity field to further strengthen connectivity technology vital to autonomous driving and explore new business opportunities within smart city infrastructure.

V2X technology allows vehicles to communicate with one another, with other road users and road infrastructure, enhancing road safety and mobility. The main focus of any V2X solution is safety. As a reliable non-line-of-sight sensor working in all environments and weather conditions, it helps prevent road collisions and avoid dangerous situations. In manned vehicles, V2X systems convey important information to the driver in the form of alerts and notifications and can also actuate the vehicle in dangerous situations. In autonomous vehicles, V2X complements existing sensors, allowing them to make more informed decisions as well as easing their interaction with other road users.

“Connectivity is one of the core technologies that can be applied to smart city business models, as well as autonomous driving and infotainment,” said Yunseong Hwang, director of open innovation business group at Hyundai Motor Company. He added “Hyundai will continue to invest in disruptive technologies that are in line with Hyundai’s current and future strategic pillars.”

Hagai Zyss, Autotalks CEO. (Photography courtesy of Yariv Dagan)

Hagai Zyss, Autotalks CEO. (Photography courtesy of Yariv Dagan)

Hagai Zyss, CEO of Autotalks, commented, “Having a top global car manufacturer such as Hyundai invest directly in Autotalks is not only a vote of confidence in the company, but a testament to the growing V2X market. Hyundai’s pursuit of cutting-edge communication and safety technologies is a perfect match with Autotalks’ leading V2X capabilities. The funding from Hyundai will fuel Autotalks’ technology roadmap as well as support our customers and partners all over the globe.”

Prior to the current investment by Hyundai, Autotalks completed four funding rounds with a total of more than $80 million in investments.

About Hyundai Motor Company

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond with its range of world-class vehicles and mobility services offered available in more than 200 countries. Employing more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai sold more than 4.5 million vehicles globally. Hyundai Motor Company continues to enhance its product line-up with vehicles that are helping to build solutions for a more sustainable future, such as NEXO – the world’s first dedicated hydrogen-powered SUV. In 2018 the company revealed its new design philosophy ‘Sensuous Sportiness’, which will be embodied by all upcoming Hyundai vehicles.

More information about Hyundai Motor Company and its products can be found at:

http://worldwide.hyundai.com or http://globalpr.hyundai.com.

About Autotalks

Autotalks, which was founded in 2008, is a V2X chipset market pioneer and leader, providing customers with state-of-the-art V2X solutions. Autotalks helps reduce collisions on roadways and improve mobility with its automotive qualified chipsets. The chipsets offer the most advanced, truly secure and highest performing V2X communication solution designed for autonomous vehicles. Autotalks’ advanced technology, to be mass deployed in the coming years, complements the information coming from other sensors, specifically in non-line-of-sight scenarios, rough weather or poor lighting conditions. It significantly improves overall road safety, effectively coordinating vehicles, self-driving cars, motorcyclists and pedestrians. For more information on Autotalks, please visit www.auto-talks.com.

Eight Common “Flow Breakers” Leaders Face—and How to Defuse Them 

Constant disruptions at work prevent managers from achieving flow, the state of concentration that allows them to do their best work. The authors of Mind Tools for Managers highlight the most common flow breakers at work and offer tips for eliminating them.

Sometimes it seems like the workplace is designed to keep you doing anything besides, well…working. If you’re a manager, this is a serious problem because everything at work hinges on your ability to effectively lead your team. Still, distractions abound in most offices, from buzzing phones to watercooler chit-chat to the endless lure of surfing the web. With all this chaos, it’s difficult to achieve the intense state of concentration known as flow, where employees of all levels do their best work.

“Flow is a state of mind that occurs when all your conscious thought is focused on what you are doing,” says Julian Birkinshaw, coauthor along with James Manktelow of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00). “Unfortunately, in the modern workplace, flow can be difficult to achieve and maintain. As a result, you are a less productive manager and stay stressed out at work. But by weeding out typical office distractions and interruptions, you can improve your focus, get more done, and become a more effective manager.”

Mind Tools for Managers identifies the 100 skills that a manager can master to become a better leader. They were identified in a survey of 15,242 managers and professionals worldwide. This research was conducted by James Manktelow, founder and CEO of MindTools.com, and Professor Julian Birkinshaw, deputy dean for programs at London Business School. The authors provide practical advice for each of these skills—one of which is the ability to stay focused—and direct the reader to the MindTools website for a deeper dive into specific skill-building articles, worksheets, videos, and more.

Even if you’re one of the many managers struggling to maintain focus at work, you can achieve a state of flow—which was first described in detail by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi—by managing or eliminating the distractions that pull you out of concentration. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common distractions managers and employees typically face at work (and how to deal with them), excerpted from the article “Minimizing Distractions: 10 Ways to Take Control of Your Day.” For more information, please refer to Mind Tool 12-1: http://mnd.tools/12-1.

FLOW BREAKER 1: The relentless presence of personal technology. Smartphones and now smartwatches have blurred the line between personal and professional communication. Now you can receive work emails and calls on the same device as private Facebook comments, Instagram photos, and an array of other personal information. The good news is, this is a challenge that you and your colleagues can effectively manage yourselves. When focusing on a particular piece of work, choose to put away your phones for a certain amount of time. That way you can devote your attention entirely to the project at hand.

FLOW BREAKER 2: Email, email, and more email. Many emails in your inbox are probably not particularly important, and yet you may feel you must look at them when they arrive. Instead, try these tactics:

  • Schedule checking time. Turn off the alert that appears on your computer screen when you receive an email, and check and respond to messages at set times instead. This helps you manage your coworkers’, managers’, and customers’ expectations about how and when you will reply to them.
  • Choose “low-productivity” times. There are likely certain times of the day when you do your best work, like first thing in the morning or maybe late at night. Schedule email check-ins for your less-productive times and save your peak hours for high-value work.
  • Turn emails into actions. If you need more than a few minutes to read an email, add it to your to-do list.

FLOW BREAKER 3: Social media and web browsing. Both are major productivity killers. Trouble is, organizations can no longer block people’s access to websites that aren’t work-related—smartphones can easily get around this. So it’s up to you to use social media and the rest of the web responsibly. If it is acceptable within your organization, use a brief personal browsing session as a reward for an hour or two of high-quality, focused work.

FLOW BREAKER 4: Nerve-jangling phone calls. The ring of a phone often prompts an intense need to answer, even when you’re in deep concentration. To minimize this source of distraction for you and your team, consider arranging a rotation so that team members can take calls for one another. Also be sure to let friends and family know that you will be available for calls only at lunchtime or in the evening.

FLOW BREAKER 5: Distractions in your work environment. Rather than trying to ignore such distractions as strong cooking smells or loud colleagues, get away from the problem. Set yourself up in an empty meeting room to regain your focus. Or wear noise-canceling headphones or play “white noise” to blank out anything that would otherwise grab your attention.

FLOW BREAKER 6: Confusion due to overwhelming workload. Always try to have a manageable to-do list, because having one that’s too long can lead to procrastination, as you wonder which task to tackle next. Each day, commit to accomplishing the two most important tasks on your list, and put the rest on hold until tomorrow.

“In our study we found that 79.5 percent of managers view prioritizing tasks effectively as one of the most important planning and time management skills,” says Manktelow. “It is so important!”

FLOW BREAKER 7: Other people. Colleagues visiting your desk can be a big source of distraction, but you’re also a manager who wants to be available for your team members. So, if you don’t want to be disturbed at times when you need to focus on a task, consider either working at home or in a conference room. If you have your own office, close the door and tell your team that you need to be left alone to concentrate for a while.

FLOW BREAKER 8: Shortfalls in your own well-being. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to juggle your priorities, manage visitors, and have the discipline to control your use of technology. So, it’s vital that you take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep and make sure you drink enough water, as dehydration can make you feel tired and impact your thinking. It’s also important to get some fresh air and take a brisk walk during the day—this will energize you. And try to avoid heavy lunches and sugar-laden snacks, as they can lead to a slump in concentration later in the day.

“It’s easier than ever to lose track of what you should be doing at work, but you can still take steps to avoid distractions and improve flow,” concludes Birkinshaw. “Learning to better manage these ‘flow breakers’ is a valuable skill that can be practiced and sharpened over time. And when you can achieve flow more easily, you will not only become a better manager, but you’ll set a great example for your team as well.”

About the Authors:

James Manktelow

James Manktelow

James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw are coauthors of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00).

James Manktelow is founder and CEO of MindTools.com. He has written, edited, and contributed to more than 1,000 articles, more than sixty workbooks, and seven books and e-books on management and leadership, including Manage Your Time and Manage Stress.

Julian Birkinshaw

Julian Birkinshaw

Julian Birkinshaw is professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, deputy dean for programs, and academic director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He is the author of fourteen books, including Fast/ForwardBecoming a Better Boss, and Reinventing Management.

About the Book:

Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.

Facebook Will Allow Users to Opt Out of Collecting Browsing History

Facebook announced earlier this week that users will soon be able to opt out of one of Facebook’s key data gathering practices: the collection and use of people’s web browsing history, which the company uses to sell targeted ads.

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein

Dan Goldstein is the president and owner of Page 1 Solutions, a full-service digital marketing agency. He is the also the author of “Win with Multi-Channel Digital Marketing”.

Of the announcement today he says, “Facebook is getting the message that privacy and transparency are important to Facebook users and Internet users in general. Giving users the ability to identify and manage which sites are tracking information about them shows that Facebook is actively taking positive steps to protect user privacy. Time will tell, but this may help Facebook overcome the shadow of the Cambridge Analytica scandal”.