The Internet of Things — maybe you've heard of the phrase, maybe you haven't. Maybe you've heard it muttered around the workplace as your colleagues talked about their new voice-activated devices.
The IoT has been growing steadily since the start of PCs and smartphones. From there, we've come out with more interconnected devices including smartwatches and televisions — maybe you've heard of our little friend, Alexa? Now, it's estimated that by 2020, there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices on the planet.
Source: BI Intelligence Estimates, 2015
However, IoT devices don't have to specifically be computers or screens really — they come in the form of our everyday devices. Smart cameras and water bottles can aid you at the beach while smart plugs and safes can help you out in your dorm or apartment.
Thus, IoT isn't just about the interconnection of devices anymore — it's about the way we live and think. When you build a smart home, you're not just using devices — you're a part of them. You think of ways to program your lights and AC that's not just shutting the blinds or pressing buttons on the wall.
Same with the way we learn — more and more schools now are incorporating tablets and interactive smartphone lessons into the classroom. Teachers can cut down on interruption time from transitioning, distributing and other menial tasks along with saving textbook resources.
But, how did we get here? Who decided that IoT was worth discovering and promoting?
According to 2014 Goldman Sachs and BI Intelligence Estimates, the average price of IoT hardware has been dropping and businesses will be the top investor of IoT. Also, agricultural companies, doctors, oil companies, insurance companies, retail, government and many more sectors are all increasing their use of IoT devices and sensors.
However, there are also very serious concerns about privacy and security, according to BI Intelligence. Hackers can easily get into accounts because IoT devices lack cybersecurity protections. This concern is oftentimes associated with government projects and can be possible even with self-driving cars.
But don't worry, engineers are working on the kinks in the system. In the meantime, you can keep up with IoT news from various tech websites, but you can also consult your friends, family and acquaintances.
If you're looking to build up your "smart life," most IoT devices have a home base on a smartphone — so start your build up there if you haven't already. IoT will definitely make your life easier and better — get on board before it's too late!
- A Simple Explanation Of 'The Internet Of Things' ›
- The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes | WIRED ›
- The Internet of Things | McKinsey & Company ›
- What is Internet of Things (IoT)? - Definition from WhatIs.com ›
- What is the Internet of Things? Definition, Industries & Companies ... ›
- the internet of things | IoT council, a thinktank for the Internet of Things ›
- How It Works: Internet of Things - YouTube ›
Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.
Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.
But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.
Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.
Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.
More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.
Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.
Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.
- 7 Free Certification Courses to Enhance Your Resume | TopResume ›
- 7 Free Certifications To Enhance Your Resume ›
- Top 15 certifications in demand for 2020 | CIO ›
- Best Certificate Programs That Lead to High-Paying Jobs ›
- 8 Certifications That Actually Impress Recruiters | Glassdoor ›
- Professional Certifications That Can Help Your Career - Simplemost ›
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.