Created by a team of computer scientists, the VizWiz iPhone appwas designed to help the blind and visually impaired accomplish everyday tasks that sighted individuals tend to take for granted.
How Does It Work?
The blind individual would begin the process by taking a picture on their iPhone through VizWiz. After, they can do a voice recording of their question which will then be sent to a VizWiz worker who will provide a response within seconds.
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Until Kickstarter started gaining attention for giving people a place to raise huge amounts of money very quickly, the term crowdfunding didn’t mean much. Now, crowdfunding has become a full-fledged industry, contributing $1.5 billion to new ventures in 2011. That total includes pledges from average people backing quirky projects like the Pebble smartwatch as well as seed funding for startups. Read more here
Crowdsourcing is the latest trend among money savvy businesses. Crowdsourcing is essentially “outsourcing” to the crowd. There are already several crowdsourcing platforms with a database of established agents across the country that are available wherever and whenever needed – but instead of keeping these agents on your payroll full-time, they are paid on a task-by-task basis, effectively lowering your overhead and saving time.
Crowdsourcing can help give your business a boost in the following ways:
1. Save on travel expenses – through crowdsourcing, you have agents across the country, or potentially even the world, ready to be dispatched to complete any task. For example, say you’re a mortgage lender and the borrower wants a reverse mortgage. Rather than paying for travel expenses for one of your own employees to travel to the residence and complete the occupancy verification, you can dispatch a local agent on site to complete the task. This agent is a resident of that particular city or town, knows his or her way around, and can likely complete the task within 24 hours. This will save you hundreds of dollars in travel expenses alone, and you will have a much quicker turnaround time.
2. Verify collateral assets before proceeding with a transaction – this can potentially save your company a lot of money in the long run. Before you proceed with a financial transaction, you should verify collateral assets of the other party. This is a perfect task for crowdsourcing. You can dispatch an agent anywhere in the country to complete this task, rather than sending a full-time employee and paying for their time and travel expenses. Wherever the assets are located, you have an extra set of eyes through crowdsourcing to verify their existence and condition.
3. Pay per task – Crowdsourcing will enable you to have a local agent dispatched onsite to complete a single task. No need to hire an extra employee or send out an existing employee to complete these tasks, leaving their daily office responsibilities unattended. Pay only for what you need, when you need it – nothing more.
4. You can be in multiple places at once – utilizing crowdsourcing will enable you to essentially be in multiple places at once. You can complete tasks in multiple states simultaneously, saving time and money. These agents will be your extra sets of eyes and ears in the field, allowing you to conduct nationwide business without leaving your office.
5. Quick turnaround time – by cutting out travel time and the need to work the task into a specific employee’s schedule, your company is able to provide a quicker turnaround time to clients. The agent is local, and ready for you to dispatch as soon as you need him. Lower costs and quicker completion aids in ensuring existing clients continue to work with you and in generating new business, as well.
There are several crowdsourcing platforms to choose from, and finding the one to best fit your needs is simple. Start with the following companies – they already have an established database of independent agents to dispatch wherever and whenever needed.
* Zaarly.com – Buyers make an offer for an immediate need (goods or services) and sellers (or service providers) can cash in on this marketplace of items or services they may have not even known were for sale. Zaarly is currently only in a few large communities across the country, but is growing quickly.
* TaskRabbit.com – Post your task and agents will bid on the job. You are able to dispatch a “rabbit” to complete your task at the lowest price. These tasks can be menial errands such as picking up dry cleaning or putting together new furniture, or more involved jobs. TaskRabbit is currently only available in a few large cities across the United States, but is expanding quickly.
* Agentanything.com – Similar to TaskRabbit, except Agentanything tasks have a fixed price, rather than an auction-style bidding system. Currently, agents are only located in New York and New Jersey.
* WeGoLook.com – WeGoLook provides nationwide coverage of 7,000+ agents nationwide and “Looks” are also available for the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. WeGoLook features a full Customer Service and Account Rep team to ensure quality control and completion of your report or task. WeGoLook assists commercial accounts and individuals who need one look or one thousand.
Crowdsourcing is quickly becoming a tried and true business practice, utilizing the ever-strengthening relationship between humans and technology. As the two worlds are merging to become one, crowdsourcing will continue to take the business world by storm, offering a cost effective, time efficient alternative to traditional business practices.
Chicago, like the rest of the country, is in the grips of record heat and drought. The mild winter that resulted in little snow coupled with the heat is creating a dangerous situation for the trees in public parks.
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