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Do you know what design research is?

When developing an app, conducting a design survey to understand users' feelings is more important than just delivering a solution.

Japanese graphic designer, curator, and writer Kenya Hara has always said that design is “an occupation that forces our eyes and ears to discover new issues in the midst of everyday life.”
It is with this philosophy that many companies conduct design research before launching their products and services. Also, many users – be they B2B or B2C – expect quality experiences, which are only possible when these customers are seen as human, not as numbers.
While many companies are eager to launch products and services as quickly as possible, understanding who your customer makes all the difference, for Adobe, “Incredible customer experiences deliver winning business results – and drive your ROI.”
The report “The Six Steps For Justifying Better UX” by Forrester consultancy highlighted that for every US$ 1 invested in UX (the acronym for User Experience, or user experience), the company has US$ 100 in return.
Why, then, think about the human factor before developing a solution? Because not offering the experiences people are looking for increases the chances that an app, website, or whatever product or service will go wrong.
Below, check out more about the concept of design research and some tips on creating something with the customer journey in mind.

Design research: understanding your consumer
In direct lines, design research is a process in which designers and other collaborators on the UX team will understand the desires and needs of the target audience and what challenges the company will have to meet what these users need.
What are the barriers an older person faces when trying to book an appointment by application? Or how does a retail site work on accessibility so that PCDs can browse and shop?
As Krystal Tung, UX designer and writer for UX Collective, an independent design publication, writes, doing such research is not the same as conducting traditional market research or "confirming a hypothesis or finding a solution."
The expert says that it is necessary to have a genuine curiosity about how the target audience experiences the world. This will help discover stories, motivations, and moments that will facilitate delivering a solution with the desired experiences.

5 Truths About Conducting UX Searches
Creating a solution is not just about understanding who the target audience is, but what experiences they want to have with a respective brand. This will require a series of investigations – both quantitative and qualitative – to deliver the necessary resources.
However, as with every development journey, some assumptions can create noise in the project. Elisa Sattyam, design lead at the Center for Advanced Studies and Systems (CESAR), highlights, in a publication, 5 points about design research that companies should be aware of.

1. UX search is not about the company
The company must keep in mind that neither it nor the UX team is the target audience for a solution. Satyam highlights that “many experiences, biases, prejudices and misunderstandings” can generate a product or service that does not reflect users' reality.
 
2. Design research doesn't take long and doesn't cost a lot
Satyam says it's possible to create design surveys that fit a company's budget, time, and resources. According to CESAR's design lead, the myth of costing money is the fact that many think these studies are purely qualitative.
The expert's suggestion is to create qualitative and quantitative approaches and use them in a complementary way to investigate the experiences desired by the target audience.

3. Research is not just for starting a project
A design survey can be broken down into a few steps. Early in the project, it can be done to understand who the users are and identify their needs, pains, and opportunities in developing a solution.
In a second moment, when there is a prototype or an MVP ( Minimum Viable Product ), the company can survey to analyze whether the solution's usability meets the wishes and needs of the target audience.
As Satyam points out, these two types of research should also be complementary, despite being carried out at different projects.

4. Usability testing is not the only approach
And the company shouldn't even have that mindset when it comes to UX search. Usability tests are generally based on feedback from users who use the solution offered. However, the lack of more extensive data about the tool can limit the experience.
For example, an e-commerce application sends notifications that direct the user to a WEB page, creating more steps to complete a purchase. The company may even upgrade the platform, but it still won't have a holistic view of improving the customer experience.
5. UX research is not just about administering a questionnaire
Like usability testing, the questionnaire is yet another type of approach in design research. It can, yes, provide relevant insights for the team, but it will depend on what the objective is and how it will be applied.

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3 Technological initiatives focused on improving the quality of life

Technology has been a strong ally for companies to create new business models. However, it has played a prominent role in providing solutions that will help to understand the body better and identify possible diseases when it comes to quality of life. 
In 2020, Mundo + Tech even brought an article about how MIT developed an Artificial Intelligence to create an antibiotic capable of killing superbugs. On the other hand, Stanford University used the technology to set up a test that helps in diagnosing visual acuity.
Recently, 3 Brazilian initiatives were highlighted in the news portals. These are projects that aim to help doctors and patients understand how to improve the quality of life through monitoring supported by technology.

1. Virtual Assistant Helps Optimize Autism Diagnosis
Diagnosing an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a person is still a challenge and makes treatment to help their development and abilities difficult. Not to mention compromising your quality of life. 
To help identify signs of autism, psychologist Andressa Roveda and entrepreneur Leandro Mattos, from Santa Catarina startup CogniSigns, created VERA (Virtual Empathic Robot Assistant), a virtual assistant who will talk to the patient and caregiver.
The conversation works as a social network. People answer a series of questions based on health protocols applied by the global medical community, recommended by the Unified Health System (SUS) and the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP).
In a second moment, the technology will use computer vision while the patient watches a video to capture, classify and understand the image to transform it into data. The solution is aimed at children, youth, and adults. 
As Roveda explains to UOL's VivaBem website, the technology doesn't perform “diagnostics for the TEA; it only performs fast, intelligent and low-cost digital screening. The data collected can serve as a support tool for physicians during diagnosis and treatment.”
The VivaBem article also heard two TEA specialists about the technology. Luciana Garcia, neuropsychologist, a doctoral student in autism, co-author of the book “Autism: a whole look” and director of Clínica Synapses (SP), and Adriana Mandia Martirani, neuro pediatrician at Hospital Sírio-Libanês and Hospital de Julho (SP), believe that the tool can lead a person to seek medical help to have an early diagnosis or even start treatment. 

2. PLN wants to identify whether young people have a depressive profile
Researchers in computing, medicine, and psychology at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), in partnership with FAPESP, developed a natural language processing algorithm (PLN) to identify whether a person has a depressive profile.
The technology will analyze the texts published on social networks to alert if rapid intervention is needed for possible mental health disorders. This will be possible because a watch with sensors will send physiological signals from the clinical study participants. 
“We are, at this moment, with the researchers in the area of ​​health that are part of the project, identifying which words and expressions these are,” told Vânia Paula de Almeida Neris, professor at the Department of Computing responsible for the initiative, on the FAPESP website.
The Specialized Virtual Friend (Amive), the initial phase of the project, will have a social network profile to interact with the study participants. From the PLN, he will learn a set of words and expressions that indicate a possible depressive profile (PPD) to analyze patients. 
"The challenge is to capture human knowledge and make a machine reproduce it, that is, to transfer to the computational model the clues that we detect in words and texts that appear to be negative mental states, depressive, anguish, of some problem," said Helena de Medeiros Caselli, a member of the team. 
However, by having more knowledge about words and expressions, new algorithms will feed Amive, which, over time, will start to create automatic posts and send messages in private mode to help the person identify a depressive profile. 
On the other hand, the sensors will be used to deliver objective results to researchers, such as heart rate and other measurements taken by the accelerometer and gyroscope during a state of depression or anxiety. 

3. Application brings agility in diagnosing sleep apnea
Sleep apnea affects one in every three Brazilians, and identifying it, until then, in the traditional method is a time-consuming process. After all, the person needs to be lying on a bed and attached to a series of wires and sensors, with the result coming out overnight.
A project designed and validated by Dr. Geraldo Lorenzi Filho, director of the Sleep Laboratory at Instituto do Coração (InCor) at Hospital das Clínicas, helps speed up the diagnosis of apnea. With a small device placed on your finger and connected to an application, it is possible to have: 
Oxygenation rate.
Heartbeats.
Movement during sleep.
According to Lorenzi Filho, the solution was tested in 304 patients who also underwent the traditional method of diagnosis. The technology's success rate, according to the doctor, was 90%. Check out the article from Jornal da Record about the application.

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Human interaction was responsible for 85% of data breaches

A report released by Verizon showed that most data breaches, such as ransomware and phishing, involved a human element.

85% of data breaches in 2020 involved human interaction. This conclusion is from Verizon's “2021 Data Breach InvestigationsReport” (DBIR), released on May 13th, bringing trends and analyzing the increase in cybercrime.
In the 2021 edition, the DBIR analyzed more than 79,000 incidents in 88 countries, in which more than 29,000 were quality and more than 5,000 were security breaches. Here is an addendum on the difference in the quality incident and security breach, concepts differentiated by Verizon.
A quality incident is a “security event that compromises the integrity, confidentiality or availability of an information asset.” While the security breach is an “event that results in the unauthorized disclosure of data.”
The report, shown in this article from Dark Reading, indicates that there has been an increase in attacks on web applications, phishing, and ransomware in the last year. The reason? The large number of people who had to move to the home office from one hour to another increased the number of hours spent online.
According to the publication, web application attacks accounted for 39% of all security breach incidents, "highlighting the challenges companies face as they migrate more business functions to the cloud."

On the human element, the report analyzed that data breaches happened after social engineering attacks: phishing, corporate email compromise (BEC), lost or stolen credentials, human error, and malware that needs to be clicked and downloaded.
“I think it's very easy in security to forget that what we're protecting is not the computer but the organization,” Gabe Bassett, co-author of this year's DBIR, told Dark Reading.

The financial impacts of data breaches
Although some companies claim that they had no losses even with incidents and security breaches, others felt data breaches in their pockets. The report showed that:
95% of BEC attacks cost organizations between $250 and $985,000.
95% of computer data breaches ranged from $148 to $1.6 million.
While ransomware was responsible for a loss of between $70 to $1.2 million.
“Any double-digit increase in the report is big,” Basset told the cybersecurity website. "It's a percentage increase where criminals will always look to steal from somewhere else [company]." By the way, organized crime is the main category of invaders to a company.
In addition, Basset informs that these forays were mostly financially motivated but that the first target was the companies' supply chain. By having access to it, criminals can launch more attacks on the organization's infrastructure or assets.
 
What are cybercriminals targeting
Despite having had a reduction in data breaches from abuse of privileges (-5%), misconfiguration (-2%), vulnerability exploitation (-2%), data mishandling (-2%), the phishing and ransomware attacks grew by 11% and 6%, respectively.
Best interprets this as an attempt by hackers to look for more efficient means of monetization.
The co-author associates phishing attacks with the use of stolen credentials. The report showed that more than 60% of breaches involved employee data, while malicious login attempts ranged from 637 billion to 3.3 billion in the organizations surveyed.
As Best points out, credential theft is a reality experienced by organizations. Still, many do not understand how this attack becomes a vector for others, such as installing malware capable of encrypting data.

Can a safety culture be built?
There is no single approach to minimizing the human risks that lead to data breaches. As the report highlights, organizations face similar attacks but have different approaches to mitigating them.
It still depends on companies' ability to train and adapt the behavior of their employees to identify attempted credential theft, social engineering, and other types of attacks.
Another criticism of the report is that many companies that promote security training end up not simulating real situations or human behavior that can lead to an incident.
Finally, the DBIR points out that it is important to progress from the traditional security awareness model to a cognitive-behavioral model to change the habits that lead to preventive measures against attacks.

News About the Latest Technological Advances 

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How should a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) be structured? 

Your company has already started the journey to the cloud. Despite one or another department already adopting the technology, there are still challenges. How to be more agile and efficient in the delivery? How to have visibility with suppliers? What about governance and regulatory laws? How to manage costs?

CCoE will bring together a multidisciplinary team of experts from different areas of a company. Together, these professionals will create a strategy for successful cloud adoption, positively impacting a business unit.
"Essentially, a Center of Excellence in Cloud tells us what are the internal mechanisms that a company has to ensure that service is delivered with quality," explains Gustavo Villa, portfolio manager cloud of Embratel.
In other words, the challenges mentioned at the beginning of this article can be mitigated when, in a CCoE, the interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and experience of all involved parties are taken into account.
However, implementing a center of excellence must start with short steps — not least because the journey is long. When that doesn't happen, chances are the strategy will go wrong because:
Although there is different content available on the subject, each company has a reality, and it is necessary to define objectives and goals in a very customized way.
Often the expectation is to structure a grand project and at the same time get quick results;
Governance gives way to authority;
The teams involved do not have the flexibility to test technologies and understand their benefits.
With this information in hand, it's time to move to the next stage: planning a CCoE.

05 Steps of Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) Planning

The goal of a CCoE is to bring an in-depth knowledge of cloud computing to everyone in the company, not just from a technical perspective. Mainly for the business team, who will understand how to use cloud services safely, efficiently, and economically.
Having this holistic view is important because, according to Villa, “you can innovate services that are not necessarily linked to technology.” Integrating different areas is a two-way street, as everyone involved in the project can give their opinion and define, within the CCoE, which is the best solution to a problem.
Also because, in a CCoE, governance speaks louder than leadership.
And to have the benefits of a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), how to do it? There are two options: on a solo flight, on your own, or a “supervised” flight, made in partnership with a service provider. In this topic, we will discuss how it is possible to start this journey at home with your own resources.
According to the TechTarget website, you need to consider 5 steps when structuring a Cloud Center of Excellence. Check out!

1. Obtain sponsorship and funding
The first step involves C-Level executives. While they know the benefits and potentials of the public cloud, they probably have no experience with the technology. TechTarget's guidance is that these leaders are involved in this strategy.
It is an involvement that goes beyond approving the creation of a CCoE. They must define an initial document with goals and objectives for this Center of Excellence and finance it for a team to start operations.

2. Define the team
The business and IT areas will join together to define who will be the technical lead. Once he is identified, it is time to recruit professionals from other departments; this involves finding specialists in:
Operations;
Safety;
Infrastructure;
Applications;
Interested parts.
As TechTarget highlights, initially, teams will view CCoE as a special project. This means, then, that professionals will not work full-time, nor with permanent functions linked to the Cloud Excellence Center until it is fully structured.

3. Train the team
Once professionals are allocated to the Cloud Center of Excellence development, it is important to understand their cloud skills. This will allow identifying gaps in knowledge, enabling these employees to be trained.
A suggestion from TechTarget is that this training comes along with the ability for these contributors to experiment and test tasks allocated in a cloud environment.

4. Define a route
Creating a project roadmap is important to provide uniform policies and guidelines for all parties involved. As teams gain maturity within the CCoE, it is possible to define the next steps.
“The strategy must be thought out for the long term, but we must start small, in parts,” says Villa. Despite the desire to want cloud technologies across the enterprise, organizations can think of planning that grows in modules, for example:
Identify workloads that can be migrated;
Implement monitoring and reporting standards;
Outline disaster recovery and business continuity strategies;
Update configuration management systems.
All of these goals, according to TechTarget, can vary or be updated as new challenges arise or the team grows.

5. Gain credibility
By completing multiple projects to demonstrate the public cloud and CCoE value, the teams involved will build their reputation and expertise. This experience will be critical to documenting and updating policies and best practices, enabling you to optimize cloud usage and governance.
 

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How does a Deep Learning algorithm allow a robot to adapt to any situation?

Scientists have developed MELA, a Deep Learning algorithm that helps a robot go beyond what it has been programmed to do.

robot can bring operational efficiency and cost savings to companies. However, it is not new that this technology is programmed to do only a certain action without adapting if a different situation happens.
For example, in a tightly controlled environment, a robot can play table tennis very well. However, if he receives a curved play, the algorithm will not hit the ball if programmed only to return single hits.

This is because the algorithms that control these machines are designed manually. In other words, if a robot encounters a situation that the developer has not thought of, the chances of him making mistakes will certainly be greater.
Despite these obstacles, several academic communities have started research to create Deep Learning, Machine Learning, or Artificial Intelligence algorithms that can adapt to any scenario.
This is the case of a team of scientists who created a new type of Deep Learning algorithm for robots: the Multi-expert Learning Architecture ( MELA, or multi-specialist learning architecture, in free translation).
 
Understanding the MELA Algorithm
The development of MELA is a partnership between scientists from the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh (UK) and the Institute of Cyber-Systems and Control at Zhejiang University (China).
The technique involves a training approach divided into two phases. In the first, a computer simulation is used to train two neural networks, which will perform two distinct tasks: trotting and recovering from a fall.
Then, the models of these two neural networks are used as nodes for another eight neural networks, configured to perform more specific motor skills, such as rolling or turning left or right.
Thus, these eight more specific neural networks are trained simultaneously with the models of the two initial networks. This will allow all of them to be able to combine “actions” to solve different challenges.
It would be like training people to play football. Initially, they will learn individual skills: dribbling, passing the ball, kicking, etc. Once they've mastered these skills, that's when they learn to combine smart ways to handle real-game situations.

The search result
The entire training of the simulation algorithm was uploaded to the quadruped robot. The machine was then subjected to a battery of tests – both in a controlled environment and in adverse situations.
The study showed that the robot could quickly adapt to complicated surfaces such as gravel or pebbles. In addition, he quickly recovered from being pushed repeatedly before continuing the programmed path.
With this, researchers are now seeking to adopt robots for commercial use in various segments and sectors. Until then, the team's challenge is to integrate the algorithm with the robot's visual or tactile perception.
In this first moment of the research, MELA depends on the feedback from the robot's joints to know what is happening around it. Not to mention that training becomes more complex and time-consuming if many tasks are required of him.
However, this new approach highlights a promising way to make machines more productive beyond what they are programmed to do with the study's publication. In other words, videos of clumsy robots are possibly due to end.

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All about CX as a strategic model

The perception of innovation is becoming more and more a constant within companies, regardless of the segment. Understanding the market and innovating is a fact that has been accelerated by the digital transformation.
With the digital transformation, innovating in the customer experience has become a strategic factor for companies to stand out in the market.
Customer Experience, or CX as the term is popularly known, is how the business as a whole involves its customers throughout the purchase journey, that is, offering the best interaction with the brand during all interactions they have with the company.
In this article, we'll show you how CX can be a key factor for your company to stand out.

understand the customer
There are stages in which the consumer goes through the entire journey and understanding each of these stages is essential to foresee possible frictions and improve the consumer's path.
Thinking about which path your customer takes, from pre-sales to post-sales is the so-called customer journey and a good part of CX thinking takes place at this time.
However, CX, more than a sector, a team or a tool, is a culture that must encompass the entire company, thus being user-centric , or user-centric , generating a good growth trend.
Understanding and knowing the details of all points of contact between company and customer helps to assess and interpret desires and demands, from a possible abandonment to a new purchase.

Importance of technology
Measuring customer behavior is a key part of every CX process, analyzing customer profiles helps to understand customer needs.
As stated above, the perception of the purchase journey applies to the entire company, marketing, finance, CS and an often forgotten sector, but fundamental for the purchase journey is the technology and development sector.
We work on the User Experience, UX, dedicated to developing an impeccable user experience for a particular service or product.
With a huge amount of data available on the market and generated by the company itself, all areas depend on an efficient Data Science team capable of offering analysis on the user's journey.
Having a robust platform that guarantees the operation is of paramount importance, because of this the development team is also important for the experience to be positive.
Furthermore, regardless of whether the business model is physical or digital, it is extremely important to have an IT service team, either to not frustrate the end customer or even to facilitate employees with daily tasks.

Relevance of digital products
No one better than your customer to say where to apply improvements in your processes and even your product.
Especially in digital products, the customer experience has become a great competitive advantage.
The experience within a digital solution must provide easy, personalized and enjoyable interactions across all customer touch points. Thus creating a cumulative effect on the general perception of customers, making UX a tool for CX as a differentiating and innovative factor.
Good service is still very important, but only it doesn't work, offering a good on boarding and a simple solution, consequently the calls to the service sector decrease.

CX in the physical world
Those who think that the user experience only applies to the digital universe are wrong, however, the physical environment is increasingly digital. Physical stores must be constantly updated, from the project to the promotions.
Technologies are increasingly embedded in physical environments, IoT and QR codes are some examples of how the shopping experience is becoming personalized over time.
A great example is Amazon, the retail giant, who decided to invest in more than 30 physical stores, in addition to acquiring Whole Foods supermarket chain to implement technologies and better understand the purchase process of its consumers.
However, investing in CX is not just a need for giants like Amazon, to perform preventive actions on IT equipment, avoid inoperative access points, avoiding queues, for example, it may seem little, but it has a direct impact on customer satisfaction, which reflects on the perception branding by the user.
Therefore, monitoring stores and branches is becoming a key point for the shopping experience to be increasingly effective.

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