Benitez predicts race for the top four will go to the wire

first_imgRafael Benitez believes the race for a top-four finish will go to the wire.The Chelsea interim manager is under pressure to secure a Champions League place for next season, with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool also in the running.A win against second-placed Manchester City on Sunday would be a major boost for the Blues, who are third despite their patchy results under Benitez.“If we can win this game we will be closer [to City]. If we cannot, we still have to keep fighting [for a top-four finish] because it will be very close,” said Benitez.He added: “I think the race for the top four will go until the end of the season.“Our last game is against Everton, so I am sure that until the end of the season we will be winning games, losing games or whatever, but it will be very close until the end.“There is Arsenal and we have still to play Tottenham. One game can make the difference and until the end it will be difficult for everyone.“I think we can fight to be in the top two. If not, again we have to fight to be in the top four.”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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Continue reading

Scientists Not Always Trained to Be Critical Thinkers

first_imgA trainer of graduate students at a prestigious university wants to put the Ph back in PhD.Can scientists be good at detail work but dumb at logic? Gundula Bosch thinks so. She directs the R3 Graduate Science Initiative at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. In Nature, she says she’s on a campaign to “Train PhD students to be thinkers not just specialists.” She explains an alarming trend in graduate schools that betrays the historic purpose of a top-level education:Under pressure to turn out productive lab members quickly, many PhD programmes in the biomedical sciences have shortened their courses, squeezing out opportunities for putting research into its wider context. Consequently, most PhD curricula are unlikely to nurture the big thinkers and creative problem-solvers that society needs.As a result of the pressure, “That means students are taught every detail of a microbe’s life cycle but little about the life scientific.” Without formal training in philosophy of science, scientists can become very skilled at detailed lab procedures but clueless about logic. Can they recognize a logical fallacy? Are they being forewarned of the pitfalls of flawed research?Above all, students must be shown the scientific process as it is — with its limitations and potential pitfalls as well as its fun side, such as serendipitous discoveries and hilarious blunders.Some blunders are not so hilarious. There can be societal consequences for not thinking ahead. But some serendipitous discoveries are hilarious, like when Kekule said he discovered the structure of benzene after dreaming about a snake eating its tail. Cases like that led to Murphy’s Technology Law, “All great discoveries are made by mistake.” Don’t omit the corollary: ‘The greater the funding, the longer it takes to find the mistake.” There are lists of these, like the one at Mental Floss, which lists 24 serendipitous discoveries of everything from Velcro to Viagra.I was startled by the oft-expressed opinion that scientific productivity depended more on rote knowledge than on competence in critical thinking.The lack of training in critical thinking shows up in retractions, corrections and the worrisome “reproducibility crisis” (4 April 2017). It also leads to public mistrust of science, like when nutrition scientists have reversed their positions on eggs, sugar, fat, the Food Pyramid, and other matters over time.Blunders and dangers of this sort prompted Bosch to start a program at her institution, Johns Hopkins, to put the Ph back in PhD: Doctor of Philosophy. Before William Whewell coined the label “scientist,” investigators of the natural world called themselves natural philosophers. A specialist in any scientific world is really not worthy of the letters PhD without some philosophical training.We call our programme R3, which means that our students learn to apply rigour to their design and conduct of experiments; view their work through the lens of social responsibility; and to think critically, communicate better, and thus improve reproducibility. Although we are aware of many innovative individual courses developed along these lines, we are striving for more-comprehensive reform.Lemmings, by JB Greene. Used by permission.Her program encourages students to evaluate case studies in fraud and misconduct, as well as poor design that leads to flawed conclusions. Somewhat surprisingly, she’s running into resistance from science faculty. They don’t think they have the time for this mushy stuff: nothing a cup of coffee can’t solve:Introducing our programme to colleagues in the Johns Hopkins life-sciences departments was even more sensitive. I was startled by the oft-expressed opinion that scientific productivity depended more on rote knowledge than on competence in critical thinking. Several principal investigators were uneasy about students committing more time to less conventional forms of education. The best way to gain their support was coffee: we repeatedly met lab heads to understand their concerns.Once hearing their concerns, Bosch sought to convince them it is worth the time. She argued, “better critical thinking and fewer mandatory discipline-specific classes might actually position students to be more productive.”Discussions about the bigger-picture problems of the scientific enterprise get students to reflect on the limits of science, and where science’s ability to do something competes with what scientists should do from a moral point of view.Bosch strives for “a better, more rational world” with these efforts. In her final sentence, Bosch accepts the fraught idea that science is “self-correcting,” but she believes it should also be “self-improving.” Such aspirations are not peculiar to science. Each individual, each institution, and each country should strive for the same.Don’t teach Darwinians critical thinking! It will destroy their whole cult! It would make them have to think of better explanations than, “It evolved” and “Stuff happens.” That’s too big a challenge for those needing to get molecules to become human brains. Good grief, they’ll have to stop using the Master List of Logical Fallacies as their “how-to” textbook!Bosch’s suggestions are good, but we wish she would add some material about groupthink, consensus, and courage to think outside the box. Notice that her suggestions presuppose values that should be aspirations for everyone: logical consistency (philosophy) and a commitment to honesty (morality). And yet we have a professional “science” enterprise dedicated to the proposition that we’re all products of a blind, amoral, unguided natural process. How do you “evolve” philosophy and morality out of that? As we repeatedly have to emphasize, naturalism is self-refuting. We quoted C. S. Lewis on that a few days ago (11 Feb 2018). Another of his quotes points out that there is really nothing truly unique about scientific thought except for its subject matter. This is another good quote to memorize:The physical sciences, then, depend on the validity of logic just as much as metaphysics or mathematics. If popular thought feels ‘science’ to be different from all other kinds of knowledge because science is experimentally verifiable, popular thought is mistaken. Experimental verification is not a new kind of assurance coming in to supply the deficiencies of mere logic. We should therefore abandon the distinction between scientific and non-scientific thought. The proper distinction is between logical and non-logical thought. (Visited 637 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Continue reading

CWG fiasco is a metaphor of our daily experience

first_imgYears ago when Muhammad Ali proclaimed that he was the greatest, he was the greatest. As heavy weight boxing champion of the world he had defeated every possible challenger and his claim was merely a statement of that fact. Muhammad Ali has never been known for modesty, but sports figures like Federer and Woods, though arguably the greatest of all time in their chosen sport, rarely bring up the subject on their own. Their greatness is claimed by others around them. Indian public life by contrast is a daily barrage of hyperbole, arrogance, false claims and often outright lies. With virtually nothing to back them, the Indian Commonwealth Organising Committee makes public and international statements so outlandish and arrogant, to be laughable. The Commonwealth Games will be the best ever. The stadia are better than Beijing. The facilities are 5-star…As if to remind the claimant of his conceit, a ceiling buckled at a stadium. Just when the Chief Minister was calling a waterlogged city of broken roads, world class, as if on cue, a bridge collapsed.InflationWhen the daily sights and sounds are of failure, hyperbole and superlatives become essential even for the most mediocre of accomplishments. Hailed as the pride of India, Delhi’s international airport has been designed and built by a consortium of foreign companies. Yet the insistence by the Prime Minister that the structure was a symbol of Indian ingenuity was a desperate call to all those within hearing distance that India had arrived. Even if we were not better than others, we were at least almost like them. In every utterance there is an urgent need to repair the shaky confidence of a nation riddled with daily signs of ineptness and greed.advertisementSo desperate is the urge to falsify reality, that its replacement is not a modest parting of relevant information, but hopeless exaggeration. Public remarks are coated in either misinformation or vagueness. Or are just clever rebuttals. The Naxals are not anti-national, but are a problem to the nation-state. We can’t distribute the rotting wheat; it has to be done through the Public Distribution System. The judiciary is not above the law, the judiciary is the law.Part of the problem lies with a society that despite its claim to modernity, still refuses to think outside of the family. Nothing of national, regional or local interest can be of any value to people whose allegiance is firmly stuck in the private progress of the household. Indian business models seem quaint but outmoded to foreigners when the management of sizeable industrial resources are shared amongst relatives: brothers and sons as MDs, wives and daughters as sleeping partners. Ministers’ sons are natural contenders for succession, even if more qualified candidates are available. Every year the railways most successful expansion program is linked to setting up stations at the minister’s ancestral village, however remote. With easy availability of national resources, progress of the Indian family is always possible?Moreover, the incapacity to do, is intrinsically linked to the capacity to pass responsibility. Even a cursory glance will reveal that India has an extensive institutional and public framework for governance that consistently fails to deliver. In forestry alone there are several national institutes and departments doing research, experimentation, afforestation, surveys, management, species development, preservation, conservation, land control etc.. Yet India ranks amongst countries with one of the highest levels of depleting forest cover in the world. There may be a surplus of wheat in India, but without its distribution, India also has the highest deaths from malnutrition. Government departments continue to research and publish papers on new improved fire retardant thatch for village homes, but fund only the construction of pucca cement roofs. The disconnect between the resolve and the reality is so complete it is hard to know when to laugh, when to cry.KnowledgeA recent article described the inauguration of a speed breaker on a national highway. While the speed breaker was decorated with Rangoli, the road was closed for the day. In the evening, a Hindu priest recited shlokas, and the minister of Surface Transport got on all fours and broke a coconut against the speed breaker. Though the inauguration caused a 12 km truck traffic jam, the event was perceived by all to be essential, a successful integration of new infrastructure with traditional ritual. I reread the piece to figure out whether this was a serious report or satire. But even after several readings could not tell. In most situations, it is hard to tell the two apart.advertisementTry stopping someone on the road for directions. He points vaguely in the direction that your car faces, and asks you to continue to go straight, then gesturing towards the right with his arm he will ask you to turn left; and suggest you ask someone there. By ensuring that you are now doubly confused, he will have at least conveyed that he is in the know of things, a man about town; his vanity must be salvaged at all costs.Rarely will someone say “My knowledge of this neighbourhood lacks the urban coordinates, landmarks and magnetic pole positions that would allow me to do justice to your enquiry. Could I direct you to someone better informed, more trustworthy and infinitely more courteous than myself.”UnrealPart of the Indian failure to complete the preparations for the Commonwealth Games on time was the inability to realistically assess situations, and to say, No, Give it to Fiji. They’ll do a better job. At every press conference pointed questions about tardiness and sloppy work were addressed with phrases like, “We are doing our best. We are giving everything we have. The whole nation is praying for success. We must put our best foot forward. It’s in God’s hands.” Public briefings and press releases speak to a nation as if addressing a child’s birthday party.Everyday, every paper, every report becomes a mix of the serious and frivolous, part truth, part moral indignation, part hope. A cover for the darker stains of India. Thieving forest officials, military attacks on Naxals and Kashmiris, food godowns brimming with rotting wheat, rural malnutrition and farmer suicides, incomplete international games, falling bridges, waterlogged cities, the daily upheavals are tinged with comedy. In a place with an increasing quantum of daily human suffering, heightened public expectation, and the cartoon characters that pose as potential providers, comic relief becomes the only way to assuage collective guilt. Laugh and forget.Some years ago, in a supposedly successful television campaign to sell the country to foreigners under the title of Incredible India, a television ad showed a variety of images: a Kuchipudi dancer, a remote Rajasthani palace, a set of sand dunes, a snow covered mountain, an empty beach, a Buddhist monk in a hill side monastery. Every image distilled into a picture book pastoral stillness. So removed was it from the real experience of India, that the campaign was bound to succeed. An outright lie, it reinforced every picturesque stereotype of traditional India. Wherever possible, words, images and other forms of sensory stimulation are an essential buffer from the real India. The unreal, the imagined, the hoped for, the preferred, the recalled, eventually become a messy amalgam in the daily life of the country. It is hard to tell one from the other.When my son was just a kid I’d take him to Appu Ghar to ride in Bump’Em cars. He would maneuvre his car very carefully, giving signals and ensuring he didn’t hit any one, and I would need to goad him into active hostility: Drive like you are on a Delhi road. The real world was an outright lie. It has taken him a few years to learn, but he has.advertisementThe writer is an architectlast_img read more

Continue reading

Mangeshkar sisters to be awarded Tana-Riri Sangeet award

first_imgLata MangeshkarNoted playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and her sister Usha will be awarded the Tana-Riri Sangeet Sanman Award today for their contributions in the field of music.The Gujarat government has instituted this award to mark the golden jubilee celebration of the two-day Tana Riri festival this year, Bhagyesh Jha, Youth & Sports Secretary, told PTI.The festival is organised every year in the memory of Gujarat’s classical music duo Tana and Riri.The award will be presented to Usha Mangeshkar by Chief Minister Narendra Modi. However, Lata will not be present at the occasion, Jha said.Beside the Mangeshkar sisters, Dhari Panchamda, who began her record-breaking classical music endeavour near the tomb of Tana-Riri in Vadnagar on November 11, will also be honoured for completing singing about 109 ragas for 99 hours, 99 minutes and 99 seconds this afternoon, Jha said.”Dhari’s world record will be the truest tribute to Tana and Riri,” state Cultural Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela said.last_img read more

Continue reading

Kris HoldenReid joins cast of Vikings

first_img Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement The actor who became a fan favourite playing a centuries-old, supernatural creature on Canadian series Lost Girl is joining the cast of Vikings.Kris Holden-Ried, Dyson on Lost Girl, has been cast in the recurring role of Viking warrior Eyvind in the History series’ fifth season, to air in 2017. Twitterlast_img

Continue reading

Bahamas Police  Woman stabbed teen stabbed

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, June 8, 2017 – Nassau – Police reports confirmed that around 12:30am Wednesday, a woman was found stabbed to death at her Peter Street home, off Market Street. Neighbours reportedly found the woman’s lifeless body on the floor in her home and phoned the police.  Police are now searching for a male suspect in connection with the stabbing after witnesses said he was last seen leaving her home before they discovered her dead. Police also confirm the stabbing of a student of HO Nash  junior high during a fight with another teenager.   Senior ACP Stephen Dean says they have a boy in custody and labeled the stab wounds of the other boy, as minor and done with a knife with a small blade. #MagneticMediaNews#twostabbingsinNassau Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #twostabbingsinNassaulast_img read more

Continue reading

Backers of SoccerCity development tout benefits to taxpayers and San Diego State

first_img Sasha Foo, January 18, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News Tags: San Diego State University, SoccerCity FacebookTwitter Backers of ‘SoccerCity’ development tout benefits to taxpayers and San Diego State Sasha Foo San Diego voters will get the chance in November to decide between two development plans for the Mission Valley site that was once Qualcomm Stadium.On Tuesday, supporters of the proposal to expand San Diego State turned in their signatures, as part of the process to qualify their plan as a voter initiative.Not to be eclipsed, proponents of the rival “SoccerCity” plan produced more arguments today to support their measure.KUSI’S Sasha Foo has the story. Posted: January 18, 2018last_img

Continue reading

24 killed in Iran parade attack Tehran blames US ally

first_imgThere was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting rampage dubbed a “terrorist” attack by the authorities, in which at least 53 people were also wounded. This picture taken on 22 September 2018 shows the long-range Iranian missile `Khoramshahr` being shown during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein`s Iraq, in the capital Tehran. In Iran`s southwestern city of Ahvaz during commemoration of the same event, dozens of people were killed with dozens others wounded in an attack targeting another army parade, state media reported on 22 September. Photo: AFPMilitants shot dead at least 24 people including women and children at a military parade in southwestern Iran on Saturday, state media reported, in a rare attack the government blamed on a US ally in the region. “Of the four terrorists, three were sent to hell at the scene, while the fourth who had been wounded and arrested went to hell moments ago due to his severe wounds,” Shekarchi told state television. Khuzestan was a major battleground of the 1980s war with Saddam’s Iraq and the attack on the anniversary parade in Ahvaz had significant symbolic value. The deadly shooting targeted the city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan, a province bordering Iraq that has a large ethnic Arab community and has seen separatist violence in the past which Iran has blamed on its regional rivals. Armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said that the dead included a young girl and a former serviceman in a wheelchair. In April, 26 alleged IS jihadists went on trial on charges connected with that twin attack. “This event once again reminds us about the necessity of an uncompromising battle against terrorism in all of its manifestations.” On 7 June 2017, 17 people were killed and dozens wounded in simultaneous attacks in Tehran on the parliament building and on the tomb of revolutionary leader Ruhollah Khomeini — the first inside Iran claimed by the Sunni Muslim extremists of the Islamic State group. “They are funded by Saudi Arabia and attempted to cast a shadow over the Iranian armed forces.” “Those who opened fire on civilians and the armed forces have links to the Ahvazi movement,” Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif told ISNA. Khuzestan deputy governor Ali-Hossein Hosseinzadeh told the semi-official ISNA news agency that a journalist was also among the dead. He also said earlier that “eight to nine” troops had been killed. Attacks by Kurdish rebels on military patrols along the border further north are relatively common. In a keynote speech, Rouhani vowed to boost Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities despite Western concerns that were cited by his US counterpart Donald Trump in May when he abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran. But foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he held a US ally in the region responsible. “Terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime have attacked Ahvaz,” Zarif said in a tweet, adding: “Iran holds regional terror sponsors and their US masters accountable for such attacks”. Washington has said it is ready to open talks on a new agreement to replace the July 2015 accord, but Tehran has said repeatedly it cannot negotiate under the pressure of the sanctions. But attacks on regime targets inside major cities are far rarer. – Rouhani defiant -The attack in Ahvaz came as Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was among the dignitaries at the main anniversary parade in Tehran. The province saw unrest in 2005 and 2011 but has since seen been largely quiet. Zarif vowed Iran would “respond swiftly and decisively in defence of Iranian lives”. Police said that five people were arrested at the scene of the attacks and dozens more arrests were reported in the following months — many along the borders with Iraq and Turkey. Trump and Rouhani will both be in New York next week for the United Nations General Assembly. But Iran has repeatedly ruled out any meeting. “The number of martyrs of the terrorist incident reached 24, some of whom were women and children among the spectators,” IRNA said, adding the death toll could rise further as many of the wounded were in critical condition. – Finger pointed at Riyadh -Zarif did not specify which regional government he held responsible for the shooting, but Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said the attackers were funded by Sunni arch rival Saudi Arabia. Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres (2,200 miles), enough to reach both Israel and US bases in the Middle East. In a message of condolence to Russia’s close regional ally, president Vladimir Putin said he was “appalled by this bloody crime.” The United States reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran last month, and a new round of even harsher sanctions targeting Iran’s vital oil sector is set to go back into effect on 5 November. “We will never decrease our defensive capabilities… we will increase them day by day,” Rouhani said at a military parade. “The fact that the missiles anger you shows they are our most effective weapons,” he said, referring to the West.last_img
Continue reading

Thailand to hold delayed election in Feb military govt

first_imgPeople vote behind booths at a polling station in Bangkok on 2 February 2014. — Photo: ReutersThailand will hold a much-delayed general election on 24 February 2019, the election commission said on Tuesday, after the junta lifted a ban on political activity it imposed after taking power in a coup in 2014.The junta imposed the strict ban on political activity citing the need for order after months of street protests against the democratically elected government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.The election, which many hope will restore democracy in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy, will likely pit the populist political movement backed by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and supported by many in rural areas against the military and royalist establishment.The Bangkok-based establishment seized power in successive coups in 2006 and 2014 and now has its own proxy political parties.The junta began easing the ban in September, when it allowed political parties to resume organising ahead of an election expected in February.It still retains sweeping powers to maintain law and order despite lifting the ban, including conducting searches, freezing assets, and making arrests.The election commission confirmed the Feb. 24 election date on Tuesday, just before a statement announcing the ban on political activity had been lifted was published in the Royal Gazette.“The people and political parties will be able to take part in political activities during this period leading up to the election in accordance with the constitution,” the statement said..Thailand last held a successful election in 2011 but the election commission said it was ready to go ahead with the 24 February poll.“The lifting of the ban means political activities can resume, including political campaigning, but this has to be done under the law,” deputy election commission secretary-general Sawang Boonmee told Reuters.last_img read more

Continue reading

The Internet of Things Demands That Customer Service Catch Up

first_img 5 min read With the speed of innovation today, technology becomes obsolete practically the minute it’s available. And now with two always online smartphones in use for every nine people on the planet, according to Business Insider, there appears to be no satisfying the information consumption of hyperconnected users. We are past the age of “smart” and moving into the age of “smarter.”This deluge of always-on technology has also created a wave of disruptive applications that are empowering today’s consumers as never before. But customer service has been left huffing, puffing and lagging behind. With 26 billion devices projected to be connected via the Internet of Things by 2020, a blender might issue an alert before it’s going to break or a furnace may dispatch an email indicating it needs servicing before the owner knows it does. But what’s yet to be figured out is how to use that information to provide a seamless and exceptional experience that satisfies consumers before they express a desire to be satisfied.People want to engage with the companies they do business with on their terms. But most companies have been slow to respond to this fundamental shift in the customer-company relationship. Because of this, only the companies that make customer experiences as smart as the products and services they support will hold an advantage over their more reactionary competitors. And while there is no simple app for smart customer service, here some things enterprises should know:Related: Will Your Company Be a Leader of the Customer-Service Revolution?1. Care across channels can take continuity to a smarter level.When consumers use smart devices, their expectation is clear: engagement with a company on all channels (voice, text, instant message chat) with a continuity and consistency of care between them all. Companies must drive a smarter experience by correlating one interaction to the next regardless of how each contact was started and where it finishes. Similar to smart products, these channels should be able to share information like an “Internet of Channels” so the customer-service dots are connected to provide a seamless and consistent experience.This is a critical piece of the puzzle for the future of customer engagement. Consumers will no longer tolerate having to repeat themselves or go through multiple steps every time they contact customer service. Pet insurance company Trupanion does this: Its customers can move from an email, to chat and then to a voice session without interruption and without starting over. This smart experience is one of the reasons why the company has such a fiercely loyal and growing customer base.Related: 8 Ways the ‘Internet of Things’ Will Impact Your Everyday Life2. Harness the interconnectedness of smart data.Smart devices have expanded how much and how often consumers are pushing out information about themselves and their habits. This presents enormous opportunity for companies. Through software-driven analysis of customer interactions, companies can now predict in real time what will happen next before an upselling opportunity is lost or a frustrated client decides to cancel his or her service. One way it can do this is by flagging potential telltale terms that a customer might provide. This way the service representative will be able to change the course of the customer experience from poor to better.Look at service pain points. Data on customer-purchase history, interactions and previous complaints need to be at the agent’s fingertips, instantly accessible on every channel, including those for in-person interactions. The faster that data is made available to front-line representatives, the more likely they’ll be able to act on the opportunities the information reveals.Related: 10 Stories of Unforgettable Customer Service3. Smart predictions could keep pace with fast reactions.Research shows that consumers are willing to divulge personal information if it improves their experience or service with a company.Take, for example, the upscale eatery Eleven Madison Park in New York City. The restaurant’s staff googles its guests before they arrive to see where they are from or what they might like to drink so as to deliver a highly customized dining experience. This idea is the essence behind the smarter experience: proactive and predictive engagement. The result is that customers feel like the brand “knows” them.According to RnRMarketResearch, location-based service marketing is predicted to grow 25 percent a year over the next five years. Armed with data from Foursquare check-ins, interaction history, a company now has the ability to proactively serve a gamer who just recently had trouble updating his console by recognizing that he is in the area and dropping him a store credit for the season’s hottest new game.Or a company can predict that a customer might need allergy medication based on the local pollen count and the number of days since the person’s last refill, then send that individual a reminder when close to the pharmacy. It’s like “nesting” the customer: the gathering data through all points of engagement that the individual has with a company so as to anticipate his or her needs and create smarter experiences.The future of customer care will be a completely synchronous response, able to call upon any resource, any individual and any piece of data to deliver an experience that meets that consumer expectation. By creating a seamless relationship between omni-channel communication, analytics and predictive, proactive communications, companies can create the smarter experiences consumers, and their smart products, demand.Related: Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. July 24, 2014 Register Now »last_img read more

Continue reading