Timeline Blog

Canvy Team, Canvy, contact management app, modern communications

From voice to text, to voice again – are communication skills changing?

In a recent feature on their website, WSJ proclaims that phone calls are dead, and their function now goes to the voice chat, or, to be more precise, to your VoIP software of choice.

Seems like texting has lost some of its appeal, while phone calling is just appealing to telecom providers. The audience migrated further on the Internet and back to voice communications with the VoIP (Voice over IP) technology – and again the rules and habits change once more.

Oh, and now there is another thing – recording your voice messages and sending them as you would do with the texts. All the warmth of your voice, without the constraints of small talk…

 

The ever-changing, ever-elusive communication

 

Great communication skills – now that’s a thing a lot of people aspire to. It’s not the first time we brushed this subject, in close relation with our contact management app. Because it helps to have a digital ally in this fight for best practices. Who to call, when, and on what channel – that may indeed be a dilemma. Of course, with an algorithm in the mix such decisions may become easier.

But no longer that we have used our minds to compute the latest trends in communications, that a new generation brings its own preferences to the table. Or is it the same generation, in a new phase?

Regardless of the driving factor, communication just cannot be pinned in a static manner. As a butterfly that would duplicate itself and fly away from the Insectarium each time the collector tries to close the cover, the main means of communication just cannot stand still.

 

Perhaps it’s just a matter of percentages

 

I read somewhere that introverts highly appreciate the text communications, because they reduce the unpredictability that infuses phone calls. A text can be taken in at your own time, and there is less pressure on what the reaction speed is concerned. Of course, the dreaded “seen” markup has made quite a few ravages, but still, texting feels more comfortable than calling when it comes to introvert people.

Now, we used to have discussions centered on the idea that the 80s “geeks” are now tech leaders. Perhaps the next step would see the temporary minority alpha types coming back into the limelight in bigger numbers. It only makes sense that for example texting would not be enough for such characters. Phone calling would probably not be their first choice either, not when they have free VoIP calling… Makes sense, right?

Depending on the majority percentage (in terms of personality types, social types and so on), we might witness an alternation of favorite means of communications.

 

The communication constants

 

Whatever the communicating means we fancy (as we’ve seen above, these tend to vary over time), if we stick to a couple of golden rules, we have strong chances to come through as skilled communicators.

What do we have to pay attention to? Again, we looked online for a coherent, preconfigured answer. This time, we skimmed through an article from Grammarly that points out that we should hone the following skills:

  • Listening
  • Clarity
  • Openness
  • Empathy
  • Energy

To quote the same source “developing good communication skills enables a person’s intelligence and ideas to shine through. It’s worth the effort”.

How about training one of the skills above each week, starting from now?

Canvy modern communications tech

How can I improve my communication skills – a recurring question that says a lot

There is a recurring type of question on forums, which are one of the information sources when working for a communications/productivity app. In various ways, people ask and discuss about the effect modern communications have on humanity, on society, on the people’s ability to meaningfully interact. They also ask for advice on improving their interpersonal skills and their communication.

Now, although the question is inoffensive, the answers to it might be stingy for some tech enthusiasts. We won’t go there. Suffice to say, as we did in previous posts, that when you are in control of your communication channel and devices, instead of them controlling you and your time – you should be OK.

 

Is silence a thing of the past? How about peace of mind?

 

When was the last time you experienced silence at home? As in you (or you and your friends/family members) communicating in a noise-free environment. No background music, TV, desktop, laptop, no phones ringing, nobody shouting from a screen, while being on the other side of the globe… That kind of thing.

This tech noise is so viral that it became addictive – and we take it for granted. A piece of music here, a video there, someone sharing this and that through various channels… We seem to be continually exposed to this stream of content. We communicate in a totally different way than we used to. We are developing new abilities or skills. But are we losing the old ones?

As mentioned above, when were you last aware of a moment of silence? Did you enjoy it or did it feel weird, or even unsettling? Consider how meditation is described – and note that the continuous stream of data that we live in, if not controlled, is the opposite environment to the one needed for meditation.

 

Caught between taking advantage of great technology and protecting our private lives

 

While communication companies urge users to ask themselves whether they are “taking advantage of this greater level of choice”, some develop apps that include ways of protecting our private lives. More recent studies acknowledge certain uncertain effects of the increased technology usage over the human brain. Even our development may be influenced, depending on when (at what age) the unlimited tech access managed to convince us to go over a certain limit.

You may find out just how huge a part of the users’ life modern communicative platforms became, for example, from this study. The most time-consuming platforms rank in accordance with the users’ geolocation, so if you are from another part of the world they won’t fit. But each region has its own favorites, when it comes to communication channels, which are all ruled by global hubs such as Facebook, WhattsApp or Skype.

Just to be clear, by protecting our private lives, we don’t mean (this time) the data protection side. No, it’s simply about leaving room for personal, face-to-face communication. Putting a screen between and the others does not count – regardless of whether we communicate through it or we merely stare at it while addressing real people by our side.

We’ll close with a suggestion that could provide more insight on this week’s topic – this article.

 

canvy communication friendship

Of friendships, communication and happiness…

The modern communications brought the increase of connectivity tenfold, if not even more. Back in the day, socializing required to actually go in person and pay a visit to your acquaintances. Alternately, you would be making the effort to call your friends, many times while trying to find a quiet room in a noisy house.

 
Now we have instant messaging, video calling and many more. Various communication channels are always open in all sorts of situations. All we need to do is formulate a thought: once ready to send it, the interlocutor is a few taps away.
 
Thousands of people simply make use of these instant communication means, no questions raised. There are also many who wonder how it all affects our relationships and even our sense of fulfillment or our general happiness.
 

Modern connectivity and friendships

 
The value of friendships is never stressed enough. From children’s literature to the most detailed scientific studies, we receive the message that friendships make our lives complete time and time again.
 
Although making good friends doesn’t come easy, we are drawn towards meaningful relationships during our lives. Even when bad experiences make us less open, less trustful, we still long for that ideal image. We dream of a group of good friends that would understand us, and make life seem more pleasant, even in its most difficult moments.
 
If interested, you may see here, for example, a few benefits of friendship that appeal even to the most down-to-earth of people.
 
The modern communication channels can greatly serve in maintaining already existing friendships.
 
Of course, it is an obvious fact that applies to most of the friendships, and exceptions are allowed. People also appreciate the quietness and silent presence of some of their friends. Memes, pics, instant messages, video and audio sharing may not fit in this picture. However, with modern communications, you can send your message to your recipient, to access it whenever he/she feels like it. You may have a convention of giving each other the time to react whenever you want to, when exchanging messages.
 
True, when you communicate with someone face-to-face, you can interpret the body language, the vibe, and the unsaid things that are in the air. This is a thing that intermediated communications cannot provide.
 
This is partly why making new friendships on Social Media or via messaging can be difficult. The conventions vary from group to group, and some may feel “lost in translation”. There are no fixed rules. You have to pick it up as you go along, no direct interaction pointers being available, either.
 

Do we “feel” our interlocutors in the modern communication environment?

 
When we combine face-to-face situations with communications at a distance, we are able to make a mental portrait of each one of our friends. Whether we know it or not, we become able to tell what the same thing means for different people. We interpret signals. Pauses, content of all kinds, online and offline reactions, all gain meaning in the context of that profile mentioned above.
 
Throw in the fact that people may change – and it’s mayhem again. But then, that’s life, and it is part of its beauty.
 
Although we may not literally “feel” our interlocutors, we learn to compensate. We develop a sense of the new social conventions. This fact is illustrated even by the questions people ask each other when adjusting to this new environment.
 
For a detailed picture of how we could communicate better, see this article. It shows 7 essential skills that may improve our sense of connectivity and belonging.
 

Attainable happiness may mean knowing how to choose, or even when to take a break

 
The “always on” trend may prove to be a strain on close relationships. Sometimes too explicit communications can negatively impact feelings. This can also put a lot of pressure on relationships – and make happiness less attainable.
 
A study mentioned by Time considers the responses from 2,201 participants. It’s a couples’ study, so it may only reflect part of the whole image. People can be also happy outside a couple. Nevertheless, each one has a most important friend – be it the same with her/his meaningful other, or just a great friend, our favorite family member, a mentor, a model in life. We all have that someone we represent a lot for, one way or another.
 
So we may take a look at what the study results reveal, and extrapolate. Besides healthy communication, knowing the other person and mastering key life skills (“being able to hold a job, manage money, etc.”) play an important role in the general happiness of the respondents.
 
Profound knowledge or just showing that you pay attention counts a lot. The materialization of the willingness to give place in your life to another person is important. Its manifestation becomes verbal or externalized only when necessary. No need for redundant gestures, as long as the essential ones are in place.
 
In other words, the right word at the right time may win over countless memes, texts or calls. It’s up to each one of us to find the right balance for our individual relationships.
511 startups map

Mapping the global tech – where are the most important startup players located?

It all started with one of our collegues being curious about startups, unicorns, the most important players in the field and their geographical location.

As we live in an age where you can find something about anything online (unless you need to dig deeper, and find some unique research data), we Googled it.

 

The Startup Blink map

 

We found a website that maps the global startup ecosystem. Their research center provides all the data needed “to draw comparisons, view rankings, and make better informed business decisions”.

The startup ecosystem rankings here feature the strongest startup hubs in the world, but also show the smaller cities and countries the chance that are significant in the global picture.

Not all features are accessible without registration, but, for a quick glance, this platform is satisfactory enough. You may check it out here.

 

Segmented startup maps

 

Segmented can be local, as in concerning specific world regions – we ran a search by this criteria, too.

Here is a Canadian startups map, a “crowdsourced map of the emerging technology scene in Canada”, where community members can edit and claim places.

It can also be by type of startups. CBInsights features this type of maps – here is a “state of US insurance tech startups”, while on this page you may find out which are the “top travel tech startups around the globe”.

If you have in mind a certain location and search for it, you may find specific startups maps. For example, such a map is available for Raleigh.

For those of you interested in the highest values and performance, you can go back to CBInsights and see this beginning of 2018 map focused on the most funded VC-backed tech startups (the map featured at the beginning of our article).

 

Is your tech business part of any of these maps? Do you have any other examples of tech startup maps? (Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a comprehensive online map for our region.As startups are gaining traction here, perhaps it’s only a matter of time.)

 

Canvy phone manners courtesy

Vintage rules of business etiquette – an interesting perspective

From the times when getting along with people was so important that it got dedicated instructional materials, we found and watched a couple of videos depicting the office etiquette and telephone courtesy. It proved quite an exercise. Comparing manners, habits and expectations throughout the ages never gets old.

So, what were the rules of business communications in the 50’s?

 

The office etiquette video

Oh my, those times do seem much simpler, in some ways. Of course, people are still people, whatever the times. Not everybody would have looked or behaved as in instructional videos back then. Important issues were not part of the picture, either.

But hearing someone talk about “enjoying your work” or “enjoying the people you are working with” does make a lot of sense, in a comforting manner. While some may see such materials as cliché-istic or narrow-minded, they provided an image of what was considered of common sense in the society at the time.

The rules, or rather recommendations, provided in the video are meant to serve as a starting point. Each could choose to go his (in this case, more like “hers”) direction from there on.

You can watch it with amusement, nostalgia or criticism, but the office etiquette video is still interesting to see.

For example, the instructor opens up the office job course with this: “You’re starting a new career. It can be fun, or it can be hard. It all depends on the way you look at things”.

 

The telephone courtesy video

In a more theatrical style, the second instructional video set out to show what is right and wrong in phone-based business communications.

As in the first video, one may find it hard not to think about how the employees look like superheroes. Always neat, polite, fresh, un-stressed, calm and generally happy about their lives. They all look like A-grade adults who are willing to focus on their job-related activities and who always find the energy and even the initiative to do it.

Compared with the current state of affairs, the people depicted in these videos all look like as if someone was taking care of them. Meaning that they needn’t worry about how they need to shop, cook, clean, pay bills and generally run around stressed before or after work.

In this context, the characters that yelled, were impolite, incompetent or offensive (the bad examples) were quickly tackled by the majority of professional, polite, in-control employees.

To quote the video: “Good manners please our customers. Bad manners only irritate them” or “The telephone is meant to work for us. The important thing is how to put it to work properly. God telephone manners aren’t difficult, they are easy, natural”

 

A contemporary exercise

You may look at the way you interact on the phone, after having browsed these videos above. Do you have good telephone manners, or bad ones, for example?

Contemplate and compare. What great things have we added and what did we lose in the process of evolving along quite a few decades?

If you were to merge the best of the present and the past – as seen in the videos, what would that image look like?

 

 

426 Capture

Holograms in communications, perhaps not as far away as you might have thought

We find out from Digital Trends that at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems conference in Montreal this week, the researchers at Queen’s University in Canada unveiled a hologram system.

The TeleHuman 2 may be the “first truly holographic video conferencing system.” It works through a system of depth cameras that capture a 3D version of a person, combined with a set of projectors at the other end. The projectors are positioned in a cylindrical tube or pod, and they recreate the 3D image in it.

 

Work in progress

The hologram generated by the TeleHuman 2 flutters and glitters, much like when the electricity cuts off holographic communications in science-fiction movies. As the team admits, there is still a lot to be perfected.

*OK, you may say, but what about TeleHuman 1? The first version of the system featured in the emerging technology section of some online media websites in 2012. Here it is, as presented by the same Digital Trends publication. The project included other potential uses, as well as a cost estimate for this technology.

The same developer – the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Ontario now works on TeleHuman 2. Their goal is to allow remote interlocutors to face each other “with a fidelity that, at least when it comes to angular accuracy judgments, cannot be distinguished from reality. No helmets or glasses required, and without obscuring parts of the face.”

The targeted audience – of course, the business audience. Upgrading video-conferences to holographic conferences has been yet another decade-old dream, waiting for advanced technology to make it possible.

 

 What would holograms bring into modern communications?

Firstly, compared to Virtual Reality (VR), holograms come without the annoying gear and the weird isolation needed to separate the virtual images from the surrounding real environment. One should be able to watch an image as if it spatially exists in all its dimensions, in the setting of the receiver’s real environment.

Secondly, holograms compare to the current means of business (and personal) video communications. Currently only the face or the upper part of the interlocutor is visible, and picking up on body language signs is difficult, as well as confusing – says the Canadian Team. As a future goal, they want to want “to expand the TeleHuman 2 to encompass an entire room while cutting its cost to make it more viable”.

We leave it to you to imagine how meetings would look like when using this technology. Or to rememorize movie images – since this technology was featured in many series and films.

 

Canvy recommendation IoT map

Know your IoT

This week, we found a comprehensive IoT ecosystem map. It belongs to Postscapes, it is interactive and it manages to capture the strategic lines in this field.

Have a go, explore this interesting map and also their website. The most passionate of you can even find it useful to browse their DIY section. Branching out of their main menu, the topics you can find there are numerous and can inspire you, as they did us.

Canvy gadgets

Searching for some of the most captivating gadgets

We are assaulted by a constant pumped-up state of being clients and consumers. The anniversaries and holidays seem not to be enough. Product providers and brands compete for our attention incessantly. We learn that we deserve treats and presents with each opportunity there is. Our dear ones also seemingly need to see our love materialized in similar presents/representative gestures.

Since storytelling is a big part of the most successful marketing gigs nowadays, this state of perpetual gift-giving ends up being confusing. Are there for real things that could bring us joy? Or is it just an illusion?

Let’s remember how we enjoyed playing when younger. And let’s remember how there are such things that amuse, amaze and fascinate people, just because…

Keeping it up to date

Although some of us are nostalgic about a rubber ball or a kite, this just won’t do. Now the mindset is different. As annoying Windows 10 might be sometimes, it just won’t do to fantasize about Windows NT, right?

Therefore, our search for captivating gadgets wins over books, office accessories, yesteryear toys and other similar things.

We also won’t include computers, phones and tablets into our scope. After all, as entertaining as video games might be – they still look like work. Just observe a player and imagine he or she is actually working. Not just any work – it’s like passionate, dedicated work. Never mind it’s called gaming – it often brings contorted facial expressions in the mix. We are going for instant joy. And this is different.

So, fun gadgets.

Visually captivating gadgets

Although any great design is a pleasure to contemplate, light-emitting gadgets are an epitome of this category. We have stumbled upon a selection by Wired which fits the profile.

Just click on the link and explore the FlashFlight or the NeckFX Guitar. Ofc the Philips light bulb is in the list. Some of the gadgets mentioned here are not even expensive. But they do look mesmerizing.

Talking about nostalgia – the light-up shoes are also in this selection. Even better, it’s their adult counterpart that made it as a semi-gadget here.

From a light-saber to some admirable flashlights and smart candles – the list is indeed a delight. Spending at least a few hours of genuine delight with one of these gadgets is guaranteed.

Survivalist gadgets

I recently read that modern people aimlessly wander about searching for happiness because they have not rewired their brains to all the changes surrounding them. We still miss the primeval victories of acquiring food, being with a pack of kindred beings and accumulating possessions. While this might well be true, those most in tune with their ancient instincts can re-channel them into skills.

Skills need companions – and these gadgets are for survivalists.

BrightSide put together a list that contains scary stuff, less scary stuff, and things that will make you say “that’s clever!” A shark repellent, an emergency beacon, a universal water filter and so on. Of course, each of them implies you would be out there, in the wilderness. OK, we exaggerate here… But there’s no point in using these at home. Out there is implied, the wilderness not necessarily.

A bit of gadget therapy

As lava lamps are a cultural benchmark, we sought their upgraded version. We think we found the perfect one – the ferrofluid gadget. Just browse this post from Digital Trends before arguing against the idea. We kind of cheated. There is a ferrofluid lamp that makes no mystery of the entire lava lamp connection.

However, watching the gluey like waves of ferrofluid dancing around can provide a few good hours of entertainment. Since the patterns are at your disposal, it’s never the same with these gadgets. We estimate the few hours to be just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The plasma ball included in this list is similar. Just pay attention and get the real thing, and avoid the low-priced copy that has a tune bound to scratch your ears and whose buttons pop out. (Yeah, we speak from experience. It’s the same with the magnetic Perpetuum Motion gadgets.)

And the final wrap-up

We got a bit tired of searching by categories. And it’s not easy to find out simple, fun gadgets online. Or maybe it takes more virtual digging up. Anyways, here’s a final source to keep you happy and occupied for a couple of minutes – with 18 cool gadgets endorsed by BuzzFeed. You will meet again some things that featured in the last list we mentioned – which is a good sign.

Couldn’t get used to the garlic peeler. But it doesn’t matter since it’s not a modern gadget. Not in the sense of this article. The Pinart thing is also more for putting on the shelf after you’ve learned all its tricks – there aren’t so many.

But this list is also interesting, so it should provide you with a couple extra contenders for the funniest, simplest gadget to own or to offer as a present. Have fun!

Canvy top apps Android iOS 2017

What apps would you take with you on an Internet-connected island?

We know, our scenario has some gaps. Apps are not like books, once you have Internet access, you can download and install as many as you want to.

But let’s say you can’t use the island wireless for getting new apps, just for getting the old ones online. And there would be a limited number of choices – just 7 applications.

In other words, what are the most popular types of apps right now? And what categories do they belong to? We’ll use the latest official yearly reports for this.

 

The 2017 tops – the podium

There is a definite need for a plural here. Due to the fact that we have two major operating systems/environments competing for people’s preferences – we have a double set of winners for 2017.

On the Android side, as measured by Play Store downloads, the leading app is the controversial FaceApp.

The leading iOS app for the last year is Bitmoji.

(We can surely see how people like to play – a bit of (visual) fun is what lacks more in our life, as it seems).

The second place for Adroid consists of a sassy weather app – What The Forecast?!!, while the iOS fans ranked Snapchat in a similar second-to-best position. The Androiders are getting somewhat serious, but not too much, Gamification still drives the highest scores.

Thirdly, we have Boomerang bringing entertaining cartoons for the Android owners – so, the childish side of the smartphone users gets another big point. iOS reciprocates with their YouTube app, bringing video materials of all sorts to the fictional island mentioned in the title.

 

The mid-range apps, according to last years’ numbers

Android follows up with TopBuzz Video, a sort of personalized, optimized YouTube for lazy searchers – to put it shortly. The iOS users change direction and rank Facebook’s Messenger the 4th, choosing to reach out and communicate.

The fifth most loved Android app is another game – and we hear it’s a very cute one. Yarn is a gamified story that people seem to enjoy. Meanwhile, the iOS-ers stick with Facebook and its properties, ranking Instagram the 5th in the downloads’ 2017 top.

Finally, the last duo of the mid-range area are Photo Editor, in the case of Android, and who else but Facebook, in the case of iOS. Is it that iOS users socialize more than Android users? One may surely consider this conclusion.

 

Which app is the Seven Ender?

We have said just 7 apps, OK? And we mean what we said. Let’s see which entry is the last one in our tops.

For Androiders, this would be – oh, big surprise, yet another game! Bubble Witch Saga, an old-school colorful game that still stands after 20 years, according to our hyperlinked (above) source. The iOS users have definitely migrated towards an opposite (more serious) corner, and they placed Google Maps on the 7th place.

Noticing a slight standard of living (possible) speculation can come out of this application parallel, we cannot but add that, for the app producers, nuances don’t matter as long as their product rises in popularity above the other options.

Do you fit the Android or the iOS profile, according to these 2017 statistics?

Canvy smartphones cognitive abilities management addictive

Why managing our phones now means not having to part with it later

In high school, we had a teacher who once almost had a nervous breakdown in class. The reason consisted of the fact that we did not pay attention, at all, to what she was saying. In her own words, not paying attention was worse that misbehaving or being noisy. While we weren’t disturbing the class, she noticed that our minds kept being elsewhere, on a regular basis.

I don’t remember what our preoccupation was back then, but today, we would surely be thinking of something related to our phones – a message, a photo, the latest updates from one of our contacts or the videogame we like with those virtual chores that we must perform at regular times.

 

Smartphones finally get accurate studies…

…in what their desensitization effect is concerned, that is. While extremely profitable for the tech producers, as well as for the marketers and the commercial entities that found a new way of reaching out to customers whenever, wherever, their effect on people’s cognitive abilities is bad, apparently.

Since profitability is the key factor that drives competent studies, we may well assume a few things. First, the situation is serious and thoroughly researched. Secondly, the degree it affects budgets must be high. Weighing the pros and cons resulting from this situation, the tech industry took the preliminary steps. Educating smartphone users would be the first step. The message comes through pretty clear – mind the way you use your phones.

Not managing our smartphones properly means not being in control. This in turn pairs up with being less attentive, less intelligent and less productive.

 

Do we have to actually be on the phone for it to affect us?

As this article from HBR that prompted this topic shows, people don’t actually have to use their phone actively to perform less in cognitive activities.

The strength of the connection people have with their phones is the factor that makes the difference. Those who have developed a dependency are affected even by the presence of their phones in the pocket.

This does not make smartphones evil – it simply draws the attention to a fact that we need to take into considerations. Our phones have become points of attraction, and their lure is stronger when unacknowledged. Once realizing that we have a problem, it’s up to us to find solutions.

Depending on just how serious this issue is – in numbers and metrics – we can expect to see other warnings, or even future public campaigns teaching people how to put their phones away, when needing to focus.

 

Entrepreneur also based a feature on the study backing up the HBR article.