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Team sports are about so much more than their physical benefits. This is especially so when group sports activities are incorporated into a young person’s life. Studies have shown a direct correlation between physical activity and academic performance. A University of Kansas study looking at the performance of students in grades 9 to 12 showed that more than 97% of student athletes graduated high school, 10% higher than those students who had never participated in sports. Athletes were also shown to have better G.P.A. outcomes than non-athletes.

This might have to do with the increased cognitive ability that comes from playing sports. Physical activity naturally increases blood flow to the brain and activates endorphins, chemicals that are released when you exercise. Endorphins can impact your mood and work performance, meaning athletes may be more willing and capable of tackling that next big problem.

Team sports can also help with emotional development. Research published by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute states that exercise can lead to a unique state of short-term relaxation. That relaxation can promote increased concentration, better memory, enhanced creativity, more effective problem solving, and an improved mood — all benefits that will extend into the classroom.

Team athletes are constantly working with a slate of other people, many of whom can become positive role models along the way. Team sports foster mentorship between older players and younger players, coaches and athletes, and more. Coaches in particular can play an important role in a young athlete’s life. Players who have positive sports mentors when they’re young are also more likely to seek effective role models throughout their life.

Soft skills are personal attributes that allow people to build positive social relationships. Team sports are an excellent source of soft skills development, as they allow athletes to grow within a supportive environment. Here are just a few of the soft skills fostered through team sports:

Communication Skills

While it might not be as obvious as sitting down and discussing a group project, team sports take a lot of communication — both spoken and unspoken. Communication skills are key in maintaining a functioning sports team, whether it’s listening to locker room pep talk, picking up on nonverbal cues given by other players, or expressing a thought during a post-game debrief.

As Jill Prudden said in her book “Coaching Girl’s Basketball Successfully,” players are expected to express their concerns, hopes, and disappointments to their coaches and their teammates. She also encourages her players to seek feedback from coaches as well as their classroom teachers, as a result fostering communications skills that will help them succeed in their academic endeavors.

Decisive Action

Sports plays happen fast, and athletes develop the skills needed to make effective snap decisions. Whether it’s a basketball player deciding to shoot or a soccer player realizing his best move is to pass to a teammate for the assist, athletes learn critical decision-making skills that will benefit them both during and after game time.

Any athlete who has played in a championship game knows the meaning of pressure. Sports create an environment where athletes learn to conquer their natural “fight or flight” instinct to make consistent and difficult decisions under high pressure situations. This ability to function under pressure translates to person who is better at making deadlines and working in stressful situations in the future.

Teamwork

This is an obvious one. Teamwork is all about collaborating with others to reach a common goal. The diverse pairing of personalities and scenarios will help your athlete become adaptable, persistent, and patient. Team sports also teach a sense of group and individual responsibility.

Being on a team with a dozen or more of your peers is an excellent way to recognize the individual talents each person brings to the table. As the Janssen Sports Leadership Center says, working with teammates teaches athletes important life skills such as to respect one another, act in unselfish ways, make good decisions on behalf of the team, and not cut corners.

Time Management

The time commitment required by athletes can be comparable to that of a full-time job. Think of all the different commitments an athlete needs to juggle: competitions, strength and conditioning, team meetings, sports physiotherapy — and these are just the sports-related obligations!

Necessity demands that athletes learn valuable time management skills, otherwise they would never be able to keep up with academics and sport. Effective time management planning is part of why a recent article published by Fast Company argues employers should consider hiring a former student athlete.

Team athletes know that every second counts, and this value of time will translate to their everyday life. As Shannon Miller, a member of the 1992 and 1996 United States Olympic women’s gymnastics team told Forbes, she kept a schedule that was almost minute by minute when she was an athlete. This careful planning and precision helps athletes focus on reaching their goals sooner than non-athletes.

Build Self-Esteem and a Sense of Community

Team sports are said to bolster the five C’s: competence, confidence, connections, character, and caring. At the heart of this is self-esteem – an increased sense of self as a result of better social interactions, stronger relationships, and higher academic performance.

Team sports provide athletes with a natural community. A report from True Sport says that youth who play sports have higher levels of social support, and that the sense of community created with teammates, coaches, and family members incubates the perfect setting for critical self-esteem development.

In the end, the opportunity to participate in team sports provides athletes with valuable skills that will take them beyond the field, pitch, and court.

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5 Types Of Social Media Networks And The Benefits Of Each One

People use social media to share pictures and videos, post updates, and connect with family, friends, and brands.

Likewise, brands use these social media networks to grow their audiences, conduct target market research, and increase platform engagement.

However, as social media evolves, it can be difficult for brands to determine where to focus their attention. And who has the time to engage on all social media platforms and apps effectively? No one.

So then, which ones should your brand use to connect with its audience? Well, that depends on a couple of factors.

Most brands don’t have the resources or, to be honest, the need to be on all social media platforms, sites, and apps.

In this guide, I’ll discuss the evolution of social media and the top social media networks. I’ll also get into the different brand benefits of each network type.

This will help you strategize where to put your focus, what you want to keep in-house, and areas you might want to outsource.

Evolution Of Social Media

Social media platforms have become an integral part of today’s marketing atmosphere.

They play a significant role in businesses connecting and engaging with current and potential customers.

From sharing information to building relationships, these platforms provide endless opportunities.

When you think of social media, you probably think of the top ones, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – and you likely lump them together.

But even among these major social media platforms, there are subtypes.

Learning each platform’s different features and potential opportunities can help brands create a more effective social media marketing strategy.

So let’s begin with the old-school platforms. LinkedIn and Facebook (originally Facemash, but who remembers that) launched in 2003.

Twitter followed shortly after that in 2006.

The second wave brought Instagram and Pinterest in 2010. Pinterest’s growth started slow before gaining more traction – today, the platform has over 86 million followers in the U.S. alone

Then, what some consider the first iteration of TikTok – Vine – launched in 2013.

Vine’s surge in popularity was short-lived, as the platform shut down in 2023. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn about where people’s attention lies: short-form videos.

Social Media Today

As we see today, social media networks have been competing to keep up with each other and adding more features to keep people on their platforms.

For example, we saw this when Instagram added Instagram Reels to keep up with TikTok.

We also see more platforms, like Twitter, now offering opportunities for its users to go Live.

Now that I’ve covered how platforms compete to evolve and captivate their user’s attention, let’s get into what I mean by a social network.

What Is A Social Network?

A social network is a category or group of a specific type of social media platform or app. There are many types and sub-types of social networks – more than you might think.

I’m sure you’re familiar with specific platforms we’ve already discussed, such as Facebook and Instagram. But what category do these types fall under? And how can your brand best connect with its audience on each?

Next, I’ll break down the following types of social networks and the benefits of each:

 Traditional Social Networks.

 Media Sharing Networks.

 Discussion Networks.

 Social Blogging Networks.

 Review Networks.

1. Traditional Social Networks

Examples: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.

We talked a lot about traditional social networks, so I won’t go too much more into that type.

But, as I talked about, there are some shifting trends in how brands use traditional social networks.

For example, we can see on LinkedIn and Facebook that people often share articles and long-form posts.

This isn’t to say that short-form posts have gone away; we see short-form posts across all traditional social networks.

We can also see that Facebook has evolved to include more engagement options, such as Facebook Marketplace for shopping, Facebook Live, and Facebook Groups.

The platform also serves as a directory for businesses to create a storefront in the form of a Facebook Page to promote their products, book services, message customers, and leave a space for reviews.

Facebook Pages and Groups are great for brands to engage with their audience and reach new people.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, has been a significant player in online professional networking.

2. Media Sharing Networks

Examples: Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok.

There are many forms of visual content across media sharing networks, such as infographics, images, and short-form and long-form videos.

While this network type includes video and picture media sharing, most are now multimedia, utilizing audio, video, and pictures.

On Instagram, there are several main ways brands use the platform: video and image sharing on the brand’s profile, then Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels.

People use these sites for entertainment, finding information, and sometimes even shopping. This creates ample opportunities for your brand to reach its audience.

Many products have recently gone viral through TikTok. When people can easily purchase through an app, it gives them a direct way to buy before second-guessing.

Brands also use these sites to disseminate how-tos for their products, collaborate with influencers, promote discounts, and more.

When it comes to Pinterest, you can use numerous marketing strategies to grow your brand on the platform.

Visual content is an engaging way to connect with customers and intrigue them to follow and learn more about your brand – and, eventually, buy your products.

3. Discussion Networks

Examples: Discord, Reddit, Quora.

When people have specific questions or want to discuss a topic, sometimes platforms like Facebook or Instagram aren’t the place to go.

There can be many reasons why people view and create content across platforms.

But when it comes to sites like Discord or Reddit, users are typically there for answers and to connect with communities of people with similar interests.

People also tend to go to these platforms for research.

Discussion Networks allow brands to answer questions and connect with their communities.

Discord alone offers opportunities to create customer community groups, events, and live streams.

Sometimes, hopping into a discussion about your brand or industry can help clarify topics and show you’re willing to engage with your audience.

Your effort to meet your audience where they like to communicate can go a long way in creating long-term customers.

4. Social Blogging Networks

Examples: Medium, Tumblr, Blog Meets Brand.

When a picture or video isn’t the correct form of content for a particular topic, blogs can be an excellent way to share information with your audience.

Sometimes information is better shared through a blog. For example, it may better explain a subject and help readers understand more complex topics.

Blogs are beneficial for content from thought-leaders. They can expand upon important information or news.

Your brand can also repurpose, expand upon, or share what it creates on its site through social blogging networks.

For newer brands, it’s a great way to develop your voice and build your audience.

These are additional platforms, besides their websites, for brands to share their insights on what matters to them and their target audience.

5. Review Networks

Examples: Yelp, Glassdoor, Google Business Profile, Trip Advisor.

The most important thing for brands regarding review networks is online reputation management.

Quickly responding to both positive and negative reviews – in a polite and empathetic way – is crucial for retaining a positive online reputation.

Reading online reviews has become essential to the customer journey, and your brand should not ignore them.

Claiming listings across various review networks and creating a plan to manage them can help improve your brand’s image. It can also show potential and current customers how your brand responds to critiques.

It can also provide insight into areas of improvement. As a result, it’s an excellent and sometimes underutilized resource.

Check out these Yelp strategies for inspiration on how to optimize your listing.

Reviews are also a critical part of local SEO since when people search locally, they tend to assess the reviews for the businesses in their area before making a purchase.

People often use a mix of Google and Google Maps to find businesses around them. Optimizing your Google Business Profile for local search is essential for reaching more potential customers.

Final Thoughts

Social media has become an overwhelming but incredibly valuable marketing component for brands.

But categorizing the types of social media networks and identifying which ones your brand wants to engage with can help simplify things.

Then, your brand can allocate the right resources, people, and time to create a social media strategy.

Some brands may outsource components of social media management, such as online reputation management, blog writing, social media post creation, ad creation, and customer service across platforms.

After reviewing your brand’s goals, it will be easier to assess which platforms you’ll put effort towards and which are worth skipping, at least for the time being.

More resources:

Featured Image: Khosro/Shutterstock

Social Security Benefits For Unorganised Workers

Social Security Benefits is one of the dynamic concepts of the modern age which influences social as well as economic policy. Social Security stands for policies, plans and measures to provide protection, relief and security against various risks to which a member of the community is often exposed in his life due to sickness, disablement, old age, unemployment, economic hardship, accidental or occupational diseases caused due to polluted environment.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines unorganised workers as those who are not covered by any form of social security, either through their own contributions or their employers’ contributions. They often work in the informal economy, where employment is not regulated, and workers do not have access to any form of protection or social security benefits.

Need of Social Security Benefits

The working population of India has seen increased suffering as a result of an outbreak of Covid-19. It was discovered that more than 90% of Indians work in the unorganized sector and are not eligible for social security or minimum wages despite making up about 60% of the country’s GDP. The unorganised workers typically operate in sporadic, seasonal, and casual jobs that are frequently unregulated. Social security is a crucial part of a worker’s, families, and community’s overall well-being.

Before the implementation of social security programs in India, the unorganized sector faced several problems related to −

Income insecurity

Lack of access to basic healthcare

Social vulnerability

Low and unpredictable wages

Social protection.

Social security programs were implemented in the unorganized sector to address these issues and provide a safety net for workers in this sector. These programs provide financial assistance, healthcare benefits, and social protection to workers in the unorganized sector, helping to reduce poverty and inequality and improve their overall well-being.

Legalisation of Social Security

The Unorganized Workers Social Security Act, 2008 was enacted by the Indian government to provide social security benefits to workers in the unorganized sector. The Act was enforced on 16th May 2009, and it aims to provide social security benefits to workers in the unorganized sector such as street vendors, construction workers, domestic workers, agricultural workers, and many others.

The Act establishes a national social security board to oversee the implementation of social security schemes for unorganized workers. The board consists of representatives from the central and state governments, employers, workers, and experts in the field of social security.

The Act seeks to address this gap by providing social security benefits to workers in the unorganized sector. It provides for the following social security benefits to unorganized workers −

Life and disability cover − The Act provides for life and disability cover for unorganized workers, which includes a lump sum payment in case of death or disability due to an accident.

Health and maternity benefits − The Act provides for health and maternity benefits to unorganized workers, including medical treatment and hospitalization expenses for themselves and their family members.

Old age protection − The Act provides for a pension to unorganized workers who are above the age of 60 years.

Education for children − The Act provides for the education of children of unorganized workers up to a certain age.

Funeral expenses − The Act provides for funeral expenses to the family of unorganized workers in case of death

Labour Codes

In order to codify the country’s various labour regulations, the Parliament recently passed four labour codes on industrial relations, social security, occupational safety, health, and working conditions and the wage code passed in 2023.

Code on Wages, 2023

It aims to simplify and rationalize the complex wage-related laws in India and provide universal minimum wages to all workers. The code applies to all employees across all industries, including the organized and unorganized sectors. The code mandates that wages need to be paid in a timely and transparent manner, it sets up mechanisms for compliance and enforcement of its provisions and fixation of minimum and maximum bonus payments.

Code on Industrial Relations, 2023

It consolidates and amends the laws relating to industrial relations, trade unions, and the settlement of industrial disputes and rationalizes the complex labour laws in India and promotes harmonious industrial relations between employers and employees.

Code on Social Security, 2023

It provides universal social security coverage to all workers in India, including those in the unorganized sector. It brings together various existing social security laws and schemes, such as the Employees’ Provident Fund and the Employees’ State Insurance Act, and provides a framework for the establishment of new social security schemes.

Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2023

It is a comprehensive labour law in India that consolidates and amends the laws relating to occupational safety, health, and working conditions of workers. It ensures safe and healthy working conditions for all workers in all sectors, including the organized and unorganized sectors.

Conclusion

The social security benefits provided to unorganized workers in India have come a long way from a lack of protection to a comprehensive set of schemes and programs. The Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and subsequent codes on social security have helped in providing a safety net to millions of unorganized workers in the country. These benefits include health insurance, life insurance, maternity benefits, disability benefits, old age pensions, and more.

The introduction of these benefits has helped in reducing poverty, improving healthcare, and enhancing the overall well-being of unorganized workers. These benefits also address the issue of income insecurity and provide a sense of dignity to the workers.

However, despite the existence of these schemes and programs, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. There is a need for effective implementation and monitoring of these schemes to ensure that benefits reach the intended beneficiaries. There is also a need to increase the coverage of these schemes to include more unorganized workers who are currently outside the purview of social security benefits.

Overall, the social security benefits provided to unorganized workers in India are a significant step towards ensuring the welfare of the working class in the country. However, continued efforts are required to address the remaining gaps and ensure that the benefits reach the intended beneficiaries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 . How are these social security benefits funded in India?

Ans. The social security benefits provided to unorganized workers in India are funded through a combination of government contributions and contributions from workers and employers.

Q2. What is the process for enrolling for social security benefits as an unorganized worker in India?

Ans. Unorganized workers can enrol for social security benefits through the various schemes and programs run by the government, such as the National Health Protection Scheme, National Pension Scheme, and others.

Q3. What are some of the challenges faced in the implementation of social security programs for unorganized workers in India?

Ans. Some of the challenges faced in the implementation of social security programs for unorganized workers in India include limited awareness among workers about these programs, inadequate resources and infrastructure to effectively implement the programs, and challenges in identifying and reaching out to eligible beneficiaries in remote or hard-to-reach areas.

The Benefits Of Code Quality

Pay now, save later

While quality code adds value to your first shipment, it’s even more important for managing subsequent releases and updates. One of the most challenging facets of software development is actually the maintenance. How do you make changes in a system that has complex interrelationships you may not even be aware of? For instance, when one of many developers working on a system creates or changes a component, such as a database table, that affects other developers’ modules without their knowledge. This problem is compounded if you acquired the source from someone else or even from another company, which may have its own development environment, approach, and conventions.

I am aware of at least one financial application for a major oil company that became so enormous and entangled after the original developers left that the company decided to cease any and all changes to the code. Instead, external workarounds were written to avoid potentially disturbing the code’s incomprehensible logic. Once you lose control of your code, it’s almost impossible to get it back without rewriting it.

At Progress, Sliwkowski concluded that DISCOVER helped get new engineers up to speed on the company’s architecture more quickly by revealing the impact of architectural changes, providing decision support capabilities for software engineers, and finding system quality issues before shipment.

Test here, not there

Because we all know from painful experience that changes can have unanticipated results, most test efforts are designed to cover as much of the system as possible. While this is an admirable and sensible goal, time and resources may not always permit it.

Some say more defects can be removed through thorough code inspections–static review of the code by others, than through code-level testing–which involves execution by the development author.

To make this process more efficient, DISCOVER, for instance, provides a tool called TestLink, which is designed to identify which areas of the system are affected so that only those specific tests need to be performed, thus optimizing testing time.

Although any tools that can help focus test efforts for developers can be useful, in my experience they should not be applied to system and regression testing for the simple reason that these phases are important for flushing out issues that cannot be known from the code itself. For example, changes that should have been made but weren’t, unpredictable interactions with other interfaces, or missed or incomplete requirements.

Culture shock

Like all IT tools, DISCOVER and other products like it, such as McCabe IQ from Columbia, Md.-based McCabe & Associates Inc., require a commitment to a cultural change. It must be integrated into the company’s software development processes and adopted by the engineers. If it is not used, or not used properly, you won’t see the benefits. These tools are even more difficult than most to adopt, because they directly affect the very heart of what developers do–write code–and there are inherent and deep-seated habits both within companies and individuals about how to build and maintain software.

This means that regardless of the power or promise of the technology, there is no substitute for solid strategies and training for using it. So, don’t expect this or any other tool to introduce code quality. Expect it to give you the means and the measurements to manage and improve your development process.

9 Health Benefits Of Swimming

1. Aerobic Effects, no Harm to Joints

The water resistance is 12 times that of air. Besides, vigorous swimming does not impact the joints. Arthritis patients need not fear further harm to the joints. Those who suffer from joint pain in the knees, hips, and ankles can swim with ease. Being in the water reduces the wear and tear on the joints on land. Compared to running, swimming burns similar or more calories.

Body shape transforms elegantly with regular swimming. The thin, fit, extended, and broad shoulders of a swimmer’s body are very attractive. The muscles get strengthened across the entire body that appears toned and flexible. The twisting and stretching during swimming increase physical flexibility.

2. Swimming Promotes cardio-respiratory Efficiency

The research studied inactive middle-aged persons of both sexes during swimming training over 3 months. The results showed that oxygen consumption increased by 10%. Heart strength increased by as much as 18% which results in greater endurance. Stroke volume is the blood pumped with each heartbeat. Hypertension and blood pressure problems decrease with regular swimming, research concludes. Cardiovascular health gets a fillip.

3. Better Management of Asthmatic Conditions 

Swimming exercises the muscles for respiration. The result is higher lung volume and improvements in breathing style. It is safe to talk it over with a doctor.

4. Long-term Benefits

Along with the short-term benefits like euphoria and the fun element, swimming can benefit in the long run. Mental health certainly gets a boost with greater focus and cognitive power as an antidote to aging and declining intellectual powers. Moods certainly improve for both men and women and a state of happiness is the priority for health improvements. Anxiety decreases in fibromyalgia sufferers. A decrease in depression results from therapy in controlled temperature. Blue soothes the mind. Feel-good hormones are released. Swimming encourages socializing too.

5. Relief from Depression

An essentially fun activity, swimming generates euphoric feelings. Reducing depression, and swimming increases self-esteem and reduces cognitive decline and dementia. A swimmer sleeps better as a result of the positive impact on mental health. Medications are not needed to gain relief from stress. Go for a swim. The relaxed feeling and the release of endorphins bring soothing sensations similar to exercises like yoga.

6. Sleep Better

Comparing those who exercise and who do not, the quality of sleep depends upon the extent of activity, light, moderate or vigorous. Breaking away from passive lifestyles and getting exercise boosts metabolism and promotes better sleep. That approach refers to any form of exercise and swimming ranks among the best. Regular participation is crucial. The internal body clock and natural circadian rhythm are restored through active exercise. According to expert analysis, swimming is a vigorous aerobic exercise. Restorative deep sleep results from swimming activity. Insomniacs are rather common due to stressful or sedentary lifestyles and they need to take to regular swimming even if for brief periods. Activities are best begun small with a gradual lengthening of durations.

7. Treat the Skin

Ocean swims are comparatively rare in comparison to swimming pools and natural water bodies inland. The ocean seems inaccessible for most and full of real and imagined dangers too. Strong ocean currents may result in untoward incidents. Saltwater promotes skin health in several ways like exfoliation when dead cells are removed and pores open. The skin feels soft and bright as a result. Salt, being anti-bacterial, has a detoxifying action on the skin. Moisture and cell growth receive a boost. Saltwater contains minerals. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are valuable mineral contents. Going into the deep sea, skin problems like eczema and psoriasis find relief.

8. Promote Bone Health and Relieve Pain

Aquatic activities certainly alleviate musculoskeletal problems and ensure robust physical activity. Unlike land and air exposure, the water offers resistance but does not strain the joints. Arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers are faced with restrictions in movements and need to live with pain, sometimes chronic. Osteoarthritis patients found relief with a swimming program of 3 months with 45 minutes of swimming 3 times a week. As a result, muscle strength improved along with lesser joint pain. 

Low bone mass afflicts many millions with the danger of osteoporosis. The result can be bone damage. Studies show that 3 to 6 hours of swimming a week improved bone density.

9. Alternative Exercise for the Injured

During swimming, the ground has no impact.

Wouldn’t it be a mistake to enjoy swimming blindly without awareness of all the plus points? From increased longevity to heart health, and better sleep to increased cognitive powers, swimming brings diverse paybacks. Though almost every exercise brings ample benefits, swimming is better than most. Within reach of everybody and possible in all ages.

Ford And Google Team On Android In The Dashboard And The Cloud Everywhere Else

Ford and Google team on Android in the dashboard and the cloud everywhere else

Ford and Google have inked a deal on connected cars, with new models set to get Android-powered dashboards, while Team Upshift will be a new collaborative group to explore new ways to build, connect, and sell cars, SUVs, and trucks. Meanwhile, the Google Cloud will be Ford’s preferred cloud provider – though not its only cloud provider – with implications for owners, dealers, and the automaker as it begins production of new models.

From 2023, we’ll see the first Ford and Lincoln models to use Android in the dashboard. That will include the Google Assistant for voice control, Google Maps for navigation, and access to the Google Play store for third-party apps and services tailored to in-vehicle use.

We’ve seen Android Automotive OS used this way already, of course, with Volvo and Polestar already having vehicles relying on the car-centric platform in dealerships. GM and other automakers have announced plans to adopt the system, too. Unlike Android Auto, which projects a smartphone interface on top of the vehicle’s native software, Android Automotive OS runs in the vehicle itself. That allows it deep connections with things like engine status, battery charge level, and more.

What it may not mean, though, is an end to the now-familiar SYNC design we’ve seen in recent Ford vehicles. “We still see SYNC as a strong differentiator, it’s in the latest version of the F-150, our Bronco, our Mach-E, and customers will still be able to experience it there,” David McClelland, vice president of Strategy and Partnerships at Ford, says. However, from calendar year 2023 we’ll see the transition to Android across all vehicles, with the automaker expecting it across all countries apart from China. “You’ll see much more OTA. The customer’s experience will get better over the lifetime of the vehicle.”

Manufacturers using Android Automotive OS can customize its UI, to match the rest of their cabin aesthetic. The end result could be an interface that looks like what you’d find in, say, the new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, but with a completely different – and more flexible – OS behind it. For now, Ford isn’t giving details – beyond McClelland saying the experience will be “uniquely Ford and Lincoln” – though it is confirming that things like Apple CarPlay and Ford Smart Device Link (SDL) will continue to be supported even after the Android transition, as will Alexa integration.

Certainly, the pandemic has accelerated a shift in buying patterns for new and used vehicles. For a start we’ve seen the rise of services like Carvana – pushing an app-based research, financing, and ordering process with cars and SUVs delivered rather than provided from a central dealership – with some automakers experimenting with on-demand test drives and similar. All the same, attempts to shift drivers to a subscription model have been less effective, with several automakers quietly scaling back or ending altogether their attempts to circumnavigate leases and financing with an all-in single payment and a flexible loan term.

It’ll all be powered by the Google Cloud, with lashings of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data analytics. Ford says it hopes to offer new cloud-based services to owners with more personalization, but also to use the technology internally, helping speed up product development, along with manufacturing and supply chain management. It also sees potential for vision AI, to improve employee training and boost manufacturing equipment reliability.

That combination of data could also make communicating between Ford, the vehicle, and the owner more effective, it’s suggested. For example, Ford is looking at how connected cars and the cloud could help “fast track” things like real-time maintenance requests, or even trade-in alerts.

It’s not the first automaker and big tech hook-up we’ve seen in recent months, mind. Back in mid-January, Microsoft announced a deal with Cruise AV – General Motors’ autonomous car company – to make Azure its cloud and edge computing preferred platform. Microsoft also took part in a new $2 billion funding round for Cruise, along with Honda, GM, and other investors.

Cloud and edge computing have particular relevance for driverless vehicles, which can tap into collaborative learning shared by all of the self-driving models. At the same time, by pushing some of the processing to the edge, where large quantities of data can be filtered first, it can also make for a more manageable use of bandwidth where the alternative is pushing all the raw data to the primary cloud for processing in one place.

“The ability for us to have a more intimate relationship with the customer because of their behavior in the vehicle will make, for example, the online purchasing experience much more personalized,” Ford’s McClelland says, “and their interaction with the dealerships much more personalized.”

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