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Digital assistants are more popular than ever before. Almost half of Americans now use them – a testament to the technology’s growing value and place as a viable channel for commerce and customer engagement.
But what exactly is a digital assistant?
Digital assistants respond to and use voice-commands to help owners answer questions, complete simple tasks, and generally make life easier. We’ve likely all asked Siri (or similar) to place a call for us or to look up the weather forecast.
However, digital assistants’ most defining characteristics are the ones emerging right now. They’re more accurate than ever before, offer greater sophistication and capabilities, and are increasingly cost-effective at the enterprise level.
More than anything else, digital assistants are something marketers need to start caring about.How Digital Assistants Impact Voice Search
Top brands are figuring out how to deliver their company promises with voice-activated devices, and investments in the channel will continue.
This means that more consumers will start using digital assistants to interact with brands, impacting how the average shopper requests information and learns online.
Marketers must adapt their outreach strategies to voice accordingly. For most, this means focusing early efforts on:
Natural language SEO: Now is the time to invest in SEO that prioritizes how users want to search when speaking. For example, question words are more common when querying via a digital assistant because this is simply how real people seek out information. It’s more likely someone would ask Siri “Where is the nearest car wash?” over “Nearest car wash to me?” Brands can earn greater voice-search shares by reverse engineering their content and SEO programs around a question-and-answer format to mirror how consumers want to learn online.
Long-tail keywords: Brands should also target long-tail keywords. As searches move from text to voice, the average length and specificity of questions will increase. For instance, a shopper may add relevant time, price, location, etc. details into a voice search that would feel cumbersome to type out. Brands willing to research long-tail keywords can take ownership over these nuanced conversations and earn new business through specific offerings and thought leadership.
Both improvements apply to any type of voice engagement and are core pillars of fruitful voice search strategies.
But, as new digital assistants emerge and older ones evolve, it’s equally important that marketers begin to tailor these core competencies to individual devices.Digital Assistants as Marketing Channels
However, marketers should think of digital assistants like social media. They’re all housed under the same umbrella and follow similar rules. But just as you wouldn’t deploy the same campaigns on both Facebook and Twitter, digital assistants deserve unique engagement plans and execution strategies.
This also means each requires its own customer-experience research and success measurements.The Most Popular Digital Assistants
As marketers spend more time in the world of voice, it can be tough to understand what separates one digital assistant from the next.
Conceptually, these technologies have identities of their own and are branded with unique personalities (down to who does the voiceover).
But digital assistants also act as extensions of the brands that created them, and customer interactions purvey similar values and goals as if the engagements were happening via desktop or in store.
Let’s explore the four digital assistants that have dominated recent new cycles to see this principle in action.Siri
This quote came directly from Steve Jobs and captures Apple’s overall intention with each new technology it unveils.
Siri was first introduced as a pocket assistant that was easy to use and accessible to anyone (who had an iPhone).
Like a real-life assistant, Siri is continuously learning more about individual users.
She strives to incorporate personal information in ways that make life simpler over time, connecting users with the resources they need to see through tomorrow’s next big discovery.Optimization Tips for Siri
To find success with Siri you should start strategizing common questions that can be answered about your products or industry.
You would also benefit from updating your success measurements. This could be if users can find the information they want on the first try, or how often voice searches are inspiring consumers to visit a business’ website.Google Assistant
Google’s promise: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Since the beginning, our goal has been to develop services that significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible. Not just for some. For everyone.”
We use Google’s search engine to find quick answers with no fuss. Google Assistant is designed to make the world’s information more accessible (24/7) and digestible at the individual level.
In creating Google Assistant, Google has paved the way for more personalized search.Optimization Tips for Google Assistant
To find success with Google Assistant you must have hawkeyes for Google algorithm updates.
You should also leverage Google’s full suite of SEO services to pinpoint unique keyword searches and queries where you can outperform competitors.Alexa
Amazon’s promise: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online… innovating new solutions to make things easier, faster, better, and more cost-effective.”
Alexa closely mirrors Amazon’s mission of making commerce as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Amazon takes its customer-centric strategies one step further with Alexa by bringing shopping right into the comfort and convenience of the living room.
Alexa is personified proof that Amazon is committed to continuously innovating and iterating its technology capabilities to improve customer experiences and remove friction from every leg of the buyer’s journey.
This mission is paying off – Alexa is today’s most used assistant. Amazon’s Echo is also quickly becoming the most dominant virtual assistant at the market.Optimization Tips for Alexa
To find success with Alexa you should focus your voice search optimization efforts on financial information or specific commerce keywords, as well as on personalization capabilities tailored to handle repeat purchases.
Alexa is connected to Amazon’s full-suite of commerce capabilities, and users will appreciate interactions with Alexa that making purchasing easier.Cortana
Microsoft’s promise: “You are reinventing what it means to do business, and we’re committed to finding the right solutions for you. Solutions that are disruptive but robust, delivering real results at speed.”
Microsoft’s Cortana follows similar design principles to Siri, but tailored more directly to the business world.
We live in an age “where the edges are no longer the boundaries, filled with new directions and new possibilities.”
Cortana helps enterprises make sense of those possibilities and connects them with other Microsoft solutions designed to support business growth.
It isn’t surprising smartphone owners say Cortana is the most accurate digital assistant, considering its more business-oriented, higher-stakes use cases.
Each approach plays to the unique capabilities of the digital assistant and transfers the kinds of experiences shoppers have come to expect from those brands to voice interactions.Optimization Tips for Cortana
To find success with Cortana you should follow a similar approach to Google Assistant, but designed for Bing. This means keeping a close eye on Bing’s algorithms, as well as updates to Microsoft partners like Satori (Microsoft’s knowledge repository).
Taking a step back, you will also benefit from taking Cortana more seriously overall. While Google Assistant often overshadows Cortana (just like Google steals the spotlight from Bing), Cortana’s user engagement tripled between 2023 and 2023.Conclusion
Considering that digital assistants are predicted to surpass 7.5 billion active devices by 2023, tips like these will help companies develop unique voice strategies and stand out.
More Voice Search Resources:
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The Minecraft 1.19 Wild Update is here, and it brings a plethora of exciting new stuff to the game. And one of the most discussed additions in this latest Minecraft update is the sculk family. It is a collection of blocks that finally add movement and sound-based mechanics to the game. While doing so, it also unlocks a variety of new Redstone functionality for players to utilize in their farms and builds. But that can’t happen if you don’t know anything about the different types of sculk blocks in Minecraft 1.19. That’s where this detailed guide will come in handy. We are here to cover everything you need to know about sculks in Minecraft. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!How to Find, Get, and Use Minecraft Sculk Blocks (2023)
We have divided our guide into separate sections to cover various aspects, types, and uses of sculk blocks. You can use the table below to skip to the section you are eager to discover about in this update.What is Sculk in Minecraft
The Minecraft 1.19 update has added a new family of blocks called sculks to the game. They were first planned for the Minecraft 1.18 Caves & Cliffs Part 2 update and would have made the caves much darker and more interesting. But they were delayed because of some unknown reason. Now, in their improved version, the sculk blocks are making a return with Minecraft 1.19. Sculks are both decorative and functional blocks that can change the Redstone machines forever.Key Features of Sculk Blocks
All sculk blocks in Minecraft have the following features:
They are fireproof and can’t catch fire even from lava.
All sculk blocks follow the same theme and even the Warden’s body has a similar texture.
A gold hoe is the fastest tool you can use to break sculk blocks.
The sculk blocks can’t generate naturally outside of the caves. However, you can get and use sculk catalyst in Minecraft 1.19 to easily generate sculk features anywhere. Read our attached guide for more details.Types of Sculk Blocks in Minecraft 1.19
ImageNameTypeFunctionSculkDecorativeOnly for aesthetics and buildingSculk SensorRedstoneDetects vibration and sends out Redstone signalsSculks CatalystFunctionalGenerates sculk features whenever an experience dropping mob dies nearbySculk ShriekerFunctionalSummons the Warden after detecting vibrations three separate timesSculk VeinDecorativeOnly for aesthetics and decorationImage Courtesy: Minecraft WikiWhere to Find Sculk Blocks in Minecraft
All sculk blocks exclusively spawn in the new Deep Dark biome of Minecraft. You can find them throughout the biome, but they spawn at a higher rate within the Ancient cities. So, our list of best Ancient city seeds can help you reach the home of sculks in no time.
If you are in the creative mode, all five types of sculk blocks show up in your creative inventory. But you can’t directly break the sculk blocks to pick them up in any game mode, be it hardcore or creative. You need to use enchantments to be able to successfully mine the blocks and get something useful out of them.How to Get Sculk Blocks in Minecraft
To pick any sculk block, you have to break it using a tool with the silk touch enchantment applied to it. This allows you to pick the block as a whole without breaking it. Since a hoe breaks sculk blocks the fastest, it’s best to use an enchanted hoe to break sculk blocks. You can use our Minecraft enchantments guide to learn how to apply silk touch to your hoe.
On the other hand, if you break any sculk block without the silk touch enchantment, the block will simply disappear, leaving behind several experience orbs. So, depending on your requirements, you can break the sculk with enchanted or unenchanted tools.Frequently Asked Questions
You can grow sculk features in your game by killings mobs that drop experience around a sculk catalyst.
Does skulk drop XP?
Sculks blocks are known to drop some of the highest amounts of XP in the game. That makes them the perfect competition and companion for the mob XP farms in Minecraft.
What does Warden drop?Use Sculk Blocks in Minecraft Builds and Redstone Machines
Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) merge the capabilities of the first generation of firewalls with network security tools equipped for handling modern cyberthreats.
See below to learn all about how NGFWs work:
Using behavior analysis, NGFWs are capable of anticipating and intercepting cyberthreats, not by identifying them directly, but by detecting network behavior that indicates an upcoming attack or data leak. Behavior analysis capabilities enable NGFWs to mitigate the damages of cyberattacks as well as internally motivated data leaks.
Sandboxing is an approach to cybersecurity where executable files and code from non-native sources are run inside an isolated part of the network. This allows the NGFW to observe, monitor, and analyze the behavior of the piece of code, preventing it from proceeding forward into the network and causing damage to the network’s resources.
Access control management is most suitable for being a part of a firewall solution due to its strategic location between network routers, users, and applications. This tool is responsible for verifying and authenticating the identity of users and device logins into the network before they gain access.
The application control technology is available in some NGFWs and web firewalls that enable you to implement security and privacy measures directly into the operations of an application. The traffic of each application can be identified in the data flow, subjecting it to a different set of limitations and security policies as needed.
Traffic monitoring and packet filtering are one of the primary components adapted from traditional firewall solutions. But with NGFWs, packet filtering can be further adapted to the type, source, and destination of the data, such as IP address, source and destination ports.
NGFWs operate on system layers, with most modern solutions ranging between layers 3 and 4 of the OSI model and systems to layer 7 of the network’s applications. Application-layer firewalls are capable of monitoring and scanning the data input and output of the network’s applications, managing its communications according to the set security policies.
Authentication is the key component that enables firewalls to associate known identities with users and devices to apply the network’s policies and access privileges to them.
Authentication techniques vary from traditional passwords and smart cards to biometrics and custom authentication tokens. The pairing occurring between the device or user and the network’s firewall results in a one-time password (OTP) that can be also applied to software and applications seeking access to one or more of the network’s resources.
Security policies are rules that organize what applications and user devices are capable of doing and how they’re allowed to behave without being blocked. Generally, this tends to focus on network traffic outbound and inbound that uses specific communications protocols, certain IP addresses, or content types from market applications.
See more: Check Point vs Palo Alto Networks: Top NGFWs Compared
NGFWs can be a part of your network as software that uses internal CPU and RAM resources.
A hardware-based NGFW is connected to the outer parameter of the network and between any segments or components where the traffic needs monitoring.
A cloud-based NGFW is commonly referred to as firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), which is hosted by a third party. They’re managed and deployed by the security vendor and can be scaled to include users and devices connecting remotely to your network.
See more: Best Next-Generation Firewall Software Compared
NGFWs need unobstructed access to a number of your network’s components for its tools to work properly. This includes anything from tracking user behavior and logs to controlling access privileges and application permissions.
An NGFW’s administrative client is the management portal that can be used by network administrators to gain access to the firewall’s configurations.
This is usually presented through an easy-to-use interface that connects the user to the remainder of the firewall environments from the servers and engines to gateways and active monitoring efforts.
Some vendors offer a web-based version of the firewall’s administrative portal that can be accessed remotely through a web browser and can allow access to log files and activity records, often for behavioral analysis.
Depending on the complexity and scope of the network the NGFW is covering, the number of servers under it may fluctuate. They’re the hardware the firewall software needs to run its operations.
A single server, depending on capacity, can host a number of the firewall’s engines and tools, such as monitoring, scanning, VPN deployment, and notifications.
Organizations with widely spread-out networks often opt for dedicated logging servers to manage their data logs, analysis, and any required calculations.
While they shouldn’t be used as the sole method of protection, NGFWs are an essential tool of network security, acting as a smart barrier between the user devices and applications and the public internet.
The value of traditional firewalls tends to end at identifying straightforward and previously identified malware and cyberattack avenues, but NGFWs are capable of employing a variety of technologies to offer more protection some key cyberthreats:
Insider threats are the weak point of traditional firewall systems, as they drive the threat past the security line at the outer parameter of the network. NGFWs use access control, application control, and wide-scale enforcement of security policies to monitor and scan the network traffic incoming, outgoing, and exchanged between endpoints.
Any activity by a malicious network user is immediately detected by the firewall, blocking it before it’s able to leak data or inject any type of malicious code, file, or software into the network’s infrastructure.
See more: How Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) are Used by Softworx, PenChecks Trust, Flex, CNA, and Blackstone: Case Studies
Reliance Jio recently announced the JioPhone 2 at its 41st Annual General Meeting and we’re sure you have a lot of questions about the second-gen low-cost 4G device from the company. The budget JioPhone 2 has quite a lot of things going in its favor, from its super affordable cost to its new QWERTY design, and its a befitting device to fuel the next wave of the mobile internet revolution in the country.
Specifications and Hardware
What are the specifications of the JioPhone 2?
Display2.4-inch QVGA (320x240p)
Storage4GB, expandable up to 128GB via microSD card
Operating SystemKaiOS 2.5
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1, dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 802.11, b/g/n, GPS, NFC, 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB port
Which processor does the JioPhone use?
The JioPhone 2 is powered by a 1.2 GHZ dual-core processor, but Reliance Jio has not revealed any information about its make or model number.
How much RAM does the JioPhone 2 have?
What’s the internal storage capacity of the JioPhone 2?
The JioPhone 2 will ship with 4GB of internal storage.
Does the JioPhone 2 have a microSD card slot?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 does have a microSD card slot which supports up to 128GB microSD cards.
Does the JioPhone 2 have dual cameras?
No, the device does not have a dual camera setup.
Does the JioPhone 2 have a fingerprint sensor?
No, the device does not have a fingerprint sensor.Software
What’s the operating software on the JioPhone?
Does the JioPhone 2 support Android apps?
No, the device does not support Android apps.
Does the JioPhone 2 have a voice assistant?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 comes with the Google Assistant and it even has a dedicated button to launch the assistant.
Does the JioPhone 2 offer video call support?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 support video calling using the 0.3MP front facing camera.
Does the JioPhone 2 have an app store?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 has an app store called JioStore.
Does the JioPhone 2 support WhatsApp?
Does the JioPhone 2 support regional languages?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 comes with support for 24 regional languages.
Does the JioPhone 2 support Google apps?
While the JioPhone 2 doesn’t support all Google app, it does include support for Google Maps, Assistant and Search.Battery
What’s the battery capacity of the JioPhone 2?
The device packs in a 2,000mAh battery.
What kind of battery life can I expect from the JioPhone 2?
Does the JioPhone 2 support fast charging?
No, the device does not support fast charging.Display
What’s the size of the display on the JioPhone 2?
The device packs in a 2.4-inch QVGA display with a 320×240 resolution.
Does the JioPhone 2 have an HD display?
No, the device has a QVGA display.
Does the JioPhone 2 have a touchscreen?
No, the JioPhone 2 does not have a touchscreen.Connectivity
Does the JioPhone 2 offer dual-SIM support?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 comes with dual-SIM support.
Does the JioPhone 2 have a USB-C port?
No, the JioPhone 2 has a microUSB port.
Does the JioPhone 2 include Bluetooth support?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 features Bluetooth 4.1 low energy.
Does the JioPhone 2 include NFC support?
Yes, the device comes with NFC support.
Does the JioPhone 2 include GPS support?
Does the JioPhone 2 include WiFi support?
Yes, the JioPhone 2 comes with 802.11 b/g/n WiFi support.Pricing and Availability
What’s the price of the JioPhone 2?
The JioPhone 2 has an affordable price tag of just 2999 INR.
When does the JioPhone 2 go on sale?
The JioPhone 2 goes on sale on August 15th.
Where can I buy the JioPhone 2?
The JioPhone 2 will be available for purchase on Reliance Jio’s website and retail outlets.Excited for the JioPhone 2?
OpenAI is a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). One of its popular offerings is ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot that can converse with humans on various topics. However, this service has been scrutinized recently due to data privacy and security concerns. In March 2023, ChatGPT’s source code bug led to a data breach. Thus, resulting in the leak of some user information. As a result, OpenAI has updated its data policy to address these concerns and reassure its users.
Also Read: Navigating Privacy Concerns: The ChatGPT User Chat Titles Leak ExplainedWhat Has Changed In The Data Policy?
OpenAI’s data policy governs how it uses the data submitted to its API services, including ChatGPT. The company has updated its data privacy and security policy to emphasize data confidentiality and security. It has also clarified how it uses the data submitted by users of its non-API consumer services, which include ChatGPT.
One of the fundamental changes is that Open AI will not use data submitted by customers via its API to train or improve its models unless they are explicitly opt-in to share their data. The API will retain any data sent for abuse and misuse monitoring purposes for 30 days. Users can ensure control over their data and choose how to use it.
For non-API consumer services like ChatGPT, Open AI may use the data users provide to improve its models. However, users can actively turn off training for any conversations created in ChatGPT by accessing the Data Controls settings and switching off the training feature. Users can actively prevent using their data to improve Open AI’s models if they wish to do so.How Does This Affect Users Of ChatGPT?
If you are a user of ChatGPT, the updated data policy means that your data will be handled with excellent care and security. OpenAI has taken steps to protect user data from unauthorized disclosure or access. It is also providing more transparency about how user data is used. Moreover, users can now control the use of their data.
For example, if you subscribe to ChatGPT Plus, you can rest assured that your payment information is secure and OpenAI will not leak it. OpenAI has acknowledged a previous incident in March 2023 where some payment information of premium users was revealed. Still, the organization has since taken steps to prevent such occurrences.
Also Read: The Dark Side of AI Innovation: ChatGPT Bug Exposes User Payment Data
If you use ChatGPT as a non-paying user, it is essential to be aware that OpenAI may utilize your data to enhance their models unless you actively disable training in the settings. However, OpenAI has clarified that it will not use your data for any other purpose without your explicit consent.What Are The Risks Of Using Free Translation Services?
While ChatGPT is a powerful tool for natural language processing, it is not the only option for users. Users can use many other free translation services to translate text from one language to another. However, these services come with their risks and challenges.
One of the main risks of using free translation services is that they may not be secure. As we saw with ChatGPT, even reputable companies like OpenAI can experience data breaches that compromise user data. If you provide sensitive information to a free translation service, you should know there is a risk of being leaked or accessed by unauthorized parties.
Also Read: AI Is Stealing Your Data – Say, Experts
Another risk is that free translation services may not be accurate or reliable. These services often rely on machine learning algorithms to translate text, which can result in errors or mistranslations. This can be especially problematic when translating technical or legal documents that require precise language.Our Say
OpenAI’s updated data policy for ChatGPT is a step in the right direction for data privacy and security. The company has taken steps to protect user data from unauthorized disclosure or access. However, users should still be aware of the risks of using free translation services and take steps to protect their data. By understanding the risks and benefits of these services, users can make better-informed decisions about how to use them.
There are many reasons why people execute such attacks, but a recent trend has emerged in which attackers are now asking for remuneration with the promise that the attacks will stop once the payment is made. To better understand how to stop ransom web attacks, we will need to dive into the minds of the attackers and understand how they differentiate themselves.How Ransom Web Attacks Work
Think of a ransom DDoS attack as a kidnapping. The perpetrator has taken something of value from the victim and asks for compensation, promising restitution of what was lost. In this case it’s not a human being kidnapped but the ability for a web service to operate. Attacks often happen on websites, but they could also bring down any other service that uses the Internet. Some of the worst attacks could take down a service, even if the port attacked is closed simply because the infrastructure becomes overloaded by an excessive amount of incoming traffic. Lighter attacks may be more effective on an open port (i.e. a port that is actively “listening” for traffic because a service runs on it, such as port 80 for HTTP).
Unlike ransomware, which kidnaps your computer from you, a ransom attack robs you of your ability to provide services over the Internet. If your computer (as opposed to a remote server) is the target of the attack, you also lose the entire ability to communicate or browse on the Web. For major companies this may create losses that amount to more capital than what they would spend paying the ransom, which is why they may give in to the demands.What Motivates Attackers to Demand Ransom?
A ransom attack, as opposed to hacktivism, does not have any ulterior motive other than short-term profit. While hacktivists may be attacking a server for a cause (such as the October 2023 attacks on allegedly racist websites), ransom attackers will be satisfied only by a lump sum of cash. Hacktivism can be more severe in most cases since the duration of their attacks can be much longer. Despite the distinction I have outlined, the two groups may overlap. Hacktivists can sometimes ask for ransom, although the “reward” may not be in the form of monetary gain but a change in policy or some sort of other measure. Such was the case when Canadian intelligence services were threatened by Anonymous in mid-July 2023.How Service Providers Can Combat Ransom Attacks
As I mentioned earlier, ransom attacks can cause significant losses during the outages. The longer the attack lasts, the more tempting it is for the target to pay the ransom to cut their losses. This is a flawed way to do things and puts the victim at a more vulnerable position considering there is no guarantee that the attackers will keep their word. Such was the case in November 2023 when a Swiss firm called Protonmail that provided encrypted email services paid the ransom and the attacks continued. The payment simply motivates the attackers to press harder and try their luck again by adding more demands to the table.
The best way to solve the issue is to wait until the attackers move onto another target (which usually happens after they realize they’re not going to get what they asked for). If this is unacceptable, perhaps you should be running your web services on a load balancing infrastructure which will help maintain traffic flow while the main server is attacked. You could use a service like CloudFlare or Incapsula to make sure that addresses are filtered and no attacker knows your website’s actual IP address.
Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.
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