EMchat

Connecting Enrollment Management Professionals.

Facebook launched Messenger platform with chatbots

All the rumors have ended now. Starting from today, Facebook will allow businesses to deliver automated customer support, content, e-commerce guidance and interactive experiences through chatbots.


By providing utility through its business ecosystem, the largest social network in the world could make its Messenger a huge competitor and keep up with other messaging apps, like Telegram, Line and Kik that already have their own bot platforms. This release has confirmed all the rumors that have wandering around.


So, it was true. Facebook have worked with chatbot developers. Moreover, Facebook also announced chatbots partnerships with developers who already have access on the platform, for example 1-800-Flowers. This means that users will be able to order flowers by just sending its Messenger bots a friend’s name.


Another interesting thing is that CNN can send people a “daily digest” of stories that will match with users’ interests and skip the topics that they don’t want.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has explained that with AI and natural language processing combined with human help, users will be able to talk to Messenger bots just like they interact with real humans.

So, how Messenger bots really works?


First of all, is it important to know that through Messenger Platform’s new Send/Receive API, bots will be able to send more than just text.

So, this means that bots will also respond with structured messages that will include links, call to action buttons and images. These responses will help users make an e-commerce order, restaurant reservation or schedule a flight.

To be added, that users can swipe through product carousels and tap out the web to pay for a purchase. It is important to know that at the moment, Facebook Messenger Platform doesn’t allow payments directly to Messenger.


Probably, users will notice that there is a new persistent search bar situated at the top of Messenger, which will help them discover bots. Without a doubt, chatbots have easily become the biggest attraction in tech world.

With their help, people will be able to easily interact with businesses and take commerce to a whole new level. Chatbots will also replace 1-800 numbers, offering a comfortable customer support experience, without needing to have phone conversations, annoying phones trees and hold times.


In the end, we must say that at the F8 conference, Maker Zuckerberg, has also talked about the latest events in the world. For example, the immigration problems that have been on the first pages in the last couple of months.

As I look around the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against the idea of a connected world and a global community,” Zuckerberg declared.
I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as ‘others.’ I hear them calling for blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, for reducing trade, and in some cases even for cutting access to the internet," he added.


He wanted to send a message to people around the world and tell them that it takes courage to choose hope over fear.

Google's DeepMind Achieves Legendary Victory

It seems that artificial intelligence has managed to take a step forward with an unexpected and impressive victory: the AlphaGo has managed to defeat no one else than legendary Go player Lee Se-dol. Lee himself did not expect this result, which makes everything much more interesting.


AlphaGo is actually a program that was developed by Google's DeepMind unit. The challenge between the program and the player is being held in Seoul, South Korea.

AlphaGo, a program developed by Google's DeepMind unit, has defeated legendary Go player Lee Se-dol in the first of five historic matches being held in Seoul, South Korea

AlphaGo, a program developed by Google's DeepMind unit, has defeated legendary Go player Lee Se-dol in the first of five historic matches being held in Seoul, South Korea

A total of five matches will be taking place, so this was only the first one. The match was quite intense, lasting no less than three and a half hours. Lee decided to resign, probably, knowing that there was nothing he could do to win.


However, the stake is quite big for the player, as he is actually competing for the prize of no less than $1 million. And not only the money put high interest on this challenge, but also the stake: this is the first time when a player has taken on a computer, so Lee surely wants to make history by winning.


And maybe, the famous player will prepare more for the upcoming challenge, Lee actually saying that he was pretty much surprised with the results of the match."I didn't expect to lose. [But] I didn't think AlphaGo would play the game in such a perfect manner," he explained.


However, Lee immediately added that despite the computer's victory, he did not regret accepting to play. "I don’t regret accepting this challenge," he said.

I am in shock, I admit that, but what's done is done. I enjoyed this game and look forward to the next. I think I failed on the opening layout so if I do a better job on the opening aspect I think I will be able to increase my probability of winning," Lee went on to explain.


He also added that what he found to be most surprising was how strong the opening that AlphaGo opted for was and also how it decided to use some unexpected moves.

Well, although he lost, Lee surely received a lot of appreciation, including from Demis Hassabis, the founder of DeepMind. Hassabis described the game as "hugely exciting" and "very tense" and said that he had "huge respect for Lee Se-dol and his amazing skills."


And, naturally, Lee has another chance to beat AlphaGo, as the second match is set to take place in a few days. Lee is surely willing to get his revenge and everyone expects the match to be very difficult.

When we came into this match we thought anything was possible and we still think that now — there’s still four games to go," Hassabis said.


However, no matter who will finally be the winner, everyone will have something to win. "The winner here, no matter what happens, is humanity," the CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, Eric Schmidt said.

Humanity wins because the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning will make each, and every other, human being in the entire world smarter, more capable - just better human beings," he concluded. 

Facebook to Roll out Live Broadcasting on Android

Facebook is without a doubt presenting a series of updates to its users, the latest being a live broadcasting option on Android. The famous tech company has recently introduced new options for people to show their feelings with regard to a status on Facebook, except for the like button, and now it seems that the social network has more surprises for its fans.


So, Facebook revealed that it will roll out live broadcasting on Android in a few days, in the US. Of course, the feature is not completely new. In fact, it has been accessible to Facebook users on iOS for quite some time. But, now, it will be expanded to Android users, who will also be able to share live video on Facebook.

The world's largest social network is testing a new feature that will enable its 1.5 billion users to use their smartphones using Android to shoot video so other people can see what they are doing in real time

The world's largest social network is testing a new feature that will enable its 1.5 billion users to use their smartphones using Android to shoot video so other people can see what they are doing in real time

How to share a live video via Facebook Live for Android

  1. Tap “What’s on your mind?” at the top of your News Feed in your Facebook app.
  2. Tap the Live Video icon (person icon with a broadcast signal around the head).
  3. Write a description for your video (optional).
  4. Choose an audience for your video, Public, Friends etc.
  5. Tap Go Live and start your live broadcast.
  6. When you are done with your broadcast, tap Finish.
  7. Note: the maximum time limit for a Facebook Live video is 30 minutes.


Initially, only users in the US will be able to enjoy this possibility, but Facebook claimed that support for Android users in more countries will also be coming soon. It seems that Facebook's interest in expanding this option has been influenced by its popularity among users.

"We know that people on Android love interacting with live videos—more than 50 percent of people watching live videos are using Android devices," a blog post from Facebook's product and engineering managers said.

Furthermore, their post explained that Facebook's interest in expanding the use of this feature might also be connected with its purpose of making people stay more on the social network.


So, the two Facebook managers said that people tend to watch more broadcasts that are live, compared to the ones that have been archived.

"We'll continue to roll this out to more people as well as Pages in countries around the world in the coming weeks," the two confirmed in their blog post.


Well, the fact is that the feature that Facebook has put at the disposal of its fans is quite interesting. It allows users to see the number of live viewers as they are broadcasting, as well as the names of their friends who are watching and their comments.

Furthermore, Facebook allows users to save their broadcast on their Timeline, for friends to be able to watch it any time. Also if you are using Facebook to advertise your online brand, Facebook Live is also available for verified pages


However, this does not mean that a video once created will always stay on Facebook. So, those who don’t want to post it, will be able to delete the video.

Moreover, users who like watching such broadcasted videos from a person they are following will able to press the Subscribe button to receive notifications each time when that person starts broadcasting again.


The feature was first presented by Facebook in the summer of 2015. Initially, it was exclusive to a limited number of accounts, but soon Facebook released it for all iOS users in the United States. Given that people enjoyed it, Facebook announced that the feature became accessible to iPhone users in more than 30 countries.


Luckily, soon enough Android users will be able to share live video on Facebook, as well. The timeline for the release was not revealed by Facebook, at this point.

Will AT&T Digital Life solve home problems?

In the past two years, many home systems offered several new features with the purpose to make people’s homes safer and now a new device, AT&T Digital Life, might be able to achieve that purpose.
So, several of the devices released throughout the years suffered many problems or bugs.

Will the new AT&T Digital Life solve some of these problems?

Probably yes. But, this new home security system is not perfect, either.

AT&T-Digital-Life-solve.jpg


The new AT&T Digital Life is very recommendable on the market, its app interface is very easy to use, having a beautiful integration and some good features.

However, this home security device is different compared with other DIY security systems, because it comes with a two-year contract. This means that customers will have to pay a monthly fee for an AT&T Digital Life package.
Product Tutorial
https://my-digitallife.att.com/learn/home-security-and-automation


So, probably many customers are not interested in buying individual products, for example an alarm, a thermostat or a lock. They will most likely be more drawn to signing an extended contract, receive a fully integrated system and pay a monthly fee. Signing a contract like this means that customers will have to work with companies more closely than usual.

But, the question is if this fully integrated system is really worth the monthly fee? Well, the new AT&T Digital Life is very good, but probably the price is a little bit high.

This package costs somewhere between 40 dollars, 55 dollars or 65 dollars per month for a two-year contract, depending on what customers are asking for. So, this means that customers will have to pay a high price, but they should know that AT&T Digital Life is one of the best options on the market.


AT&T Digital Life is similar to many other do-it-yourself security systems, for example iSmartAlarm and SimpliSafe. These security systems are available on the market for a few hundred dollars and customers will not have to engage in contractual obligations.

Many of these packages are coming with a couple of contact sensors, devices that indicate if the windows or doors are closed or open, a remote, a motion detector, a camera, an alarm and other gadgets.


Well, AT&T Digital Life has the same gadgets, meaning that customers will be familiar with them. This means that if customers are willing to acquire AT&T Digital Life’s “Smart Security,” they will receive six contact sensors, a keypad, an alarm and a motion detector.


But, if they want to upgrade, customers will receive extra cameras, connected outlets, flood sensors, smart door looks and many others. This is a really good thing, because owners will not have to worry any more if their house is safe or what products should they acquire.


The most expensive package that they can acquire is the “Premium Security and Automations” package. This package is perfect for those who are living at a house, because it comes with an outdoor camera, carbon monoxide sensor, two temperature and water sensors, and many others.

Another good thing to know is that if customers are going for a DIY system, they will receive a notification on their smartphone if there is an alarm, but it won’t automatically call the fire department or the police.


Well, the AT&T Digital Life has these extra features, which make it safer to use. Another good thing about this home security package is that the installation is included in the two-year contract price. On the website customers will also have the opportunity to see many other basic information.

Microsoft Interested in Underwater Location for Data Center

Companies nowadays are looking for new and interesting locations for data centers and it seems that Microsoft is really ready to make an impression, looking for such a location under the sea. 


So, a series of companies have revealed lately that they planned on expanding their operations to new locations.

Facebook revealed that it would open a data center in the city of Lulea, in Sweden. The famous company claimed that the location choice might have been influenced by its efforts to cut energy required for cooling, as it is well-known that temperatures here are quite low. 


Facebook might also be interested in opening a plant in Ireland, due to the possibility to exploit wind energy here.

 

According to Madd Apple news blog Apple also announced to be opening a new development center, in Italy, while Google seemed to be interested in creating its own data center in Finland.

Well, it seems that the most original and interesting idea of all actually came from Microsoft, which is interested in opening a data center nowhere else, but under the sea. 


And Microsoft is so interested in this idea that it actually has started to test the possibility of developing such a center.

The famous company started to work at this project back in 2014. It seems that the idea was first found about a year before, by Sean James, a company employee who actually served on a US Navy submarine. And in about one year, Microsoft designed, built and deployed the new data center under the ocean. 

Microsoft_Underwater_Datacenter.jpg


The center is based on a vessel, whose prototype was named the Leona Philpot, after an Xbox One character. Actually, Microsoft revealed that this prototype vessel has been operational at about one kilometer distance from the Pacific coast, between August and November 2015. The news was reported by Microsoft on its official page of the project. 


Although the project has been tested, Microsoft said that it is still in its early stages, so this means that the famous company still has a lot of work to do on the project. The company named its Project Natick, after a Massachusetts town. However, the tech giant claimed that this project is part of its continuous purpose of becoming more sustainable. 


"Project Natick reflects Microsoft’s ongoing quest for cloud datacenter solutions that offer rapid provisioning, lower costs, high responsiveness, and are more environmentally sustainable," Microsoft stated. 


It has been reported that Microsoft believes that the lifespan of the center it is able to create is of at least 20 years. However, after that, it can be salvaged and recycled. Microsoft also said that the whole project is based on the possibility of recycling and claimed that it would have absolutely zero emissions.

"No waste products, whether due to the power generation, computers, or human maintainers are emitted into the environment," the company stated. 


"During our deployment of the Leona Philpot vessel, sea life in the local vicinity quickly adapted to the presence of the vessel," Microsoft's statement also added. However, as Microsoft has already claimed, there is much more work to complete at this data center until it will be fully functional.

May 1st: It's Coming

May 1st marks a pretty big day for students all over (at least in the media, since, you know, May 1st is now a pretty flexible date), but Decision Day still carries a lot of hype. If we think about it in media terms, this is the date when prospective students choose the institution that will help to shape the rest of their lives.

And so, it’s a bit ironic that May 1st plays a pretty big role in my life as well when it comes to the realm of enrollment management.

For the last five (which is crazy to me) years, I’ve spent my time on Capitol Hill working for both the Senate and House as an analyst and program manager, respectively, in the area of emergency preparedness and continuity. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with super smart people who have shaped my professional career and personal life. I’ve found great mentors and made many friends. I've also learned a lot professionally, and while my next stop isn’t in the emergency preparedness space, there are definite lessons and skills that I’ll carry forward with me.

But, it’s no secret that my passion centers around enrollment management and higher education in general. If you’re reading this and you didn’t know that, surprise!

While my actual “decision day” was about six weeks ago, May 1st marks my first day with Technolutions. I will be leaving my super-beloved Maryland behind for currently snowier pastures in Connecticut. I’m blessed to have a wife who supports all my endeavors, even though it means leaving almost all of our family (and almost all of our friends) five hours away...and selling and buying homes when she’s five months pregnant. I’m also blessed to have a son who can’t really tell me he doesn’t want to move quite yet…and another on the way who will call Connecticut his first home.

Relationships have always been at the core of all decisions I’ve made in my professional and personal lives and I’m thrilled to be able to work with a company that operates in the same way. To put this opportunity in one word, it’s exhilarating.  

When considering relationships, I’d absolutely be amiss if I didn’t credit this opportunity to #EMchat. Whether it’s the knowledge I’ve gained through this community, the professional connections I’ve been able to make, or the personal relationships that have grown from those connections; this community is extraordinary and I’m so lucky to have been a part of it for almost four years now. Thanks to everyone who makes it a possibility and continues to grow the community.

With that said, I’m now in a whole new area which means so many more opportunities for meetings in real life! Give me a shout if you’re in the area, and while Scott Cline would probably say that I’m really unreliable when it comes to making coffees, lunches, or happy hours happen, I’m really trying to be better about it! I promise, I’m real.

See you soon, higher ed!

Alex

9 Things to Do Instead of #EMchat Tonight

If you missed the memo, we're canceling #EMchat tonight. Sorry for the last minute change. Lots of wheels cranking, candles burning, and life events happening in our realms. Forgive us? Still want an hour of the best professional development this side of the internet? Okay. Here you go. How many links can you fit in a blog post? A lot. In no particular order:

1.   Improve your Email via Meghan Dalesandro.

2.  Watch some of these via The Team at Rapid Insight.

3.  Learn some #EMsci from Brock Tibert. And try not to get lost. THAT is the real challenge! He's too smart.

4.  Download this. Then start reading it. I lied, it's not all free. But totally worth it.

5.  Request to join this group. I'm sure there's a good conversation going on. Or at least Jon Boeckenstedt is there leaving good comments.

6.  Speaking of,

If you missed the memo, we're canceling #EMchat tonight. Sorry for the last minute change. Lots of wheels cranking, candles burning, and life events happening in our realms. Forgive us? Still want an hour of the best professional development this side of the internet? Okay. Here you go. How many links can you fit in a blog post? A lot. In no particular order:

1.   Improve your Email via Meghan Dalesandro.

2.  Watch some of these via The Team at Rapid Insight.

3.  Learn some #EMsci from Brock Tibert. And try not to get lost. THAT is the real challenge! He's too smart.

4.  Download this. Then start reading it. I lied, it's not all free. But totally worth it.

5.  Request to join this group. I'm sure there's a good conversation going on. Or at least Jon Boeckenstedt is there leaving good comments.

6.  Speaking of, play with some of these visualizations. They never end.

7.  Catch up on this and last week's #EMchat from Chegg. (Two things or one?)

8.  Start some research to figure out how to get THIS FILM on your campus.

9.  Start a conversation. Ask a question. Link up with an #FAchat, #SAchat, #CareerServChat, #SCcrowd, #SCchat, #CollegeCash hashtags and build your network.

FOR BONUS #EMCHAT POINTS: Find THIS and mail to Crofton, Maryland.

And, if you've got some great prodev of your own to share with the community, I didn't leave it out on purpose. I promise. Share it in the comments or with #EMchat at any time! See you all next week for a chat on Prior, Prior Year Financial Data for the FAFSA. Speaking of, read this by Scannell & Kurz's Aaron Mahl.

. They never end.

7.  Catch up on this and last week's #EMchat from Chegg. (Two things or one?)

8.  Start some research to figure out how to get THIS FILM on your campus.

9.  Start a conversation. Ask a question. Link up with an #FAchat, #SAchat, #CareerServChat, #SCcrowd, #SCchat, #CollegeCash hashtags and build your network.

FOR BONUS #EMCHAT POINTS: Find THIS and mail to Crofton, Maryland.

And, if you've got some great prodev of your own to share with the community, I didn't leave it out on purpose. I promise. Share it in the comments or with #EMchat at any time! See you all next week for a chat on Prior, Prior Year Financial Data for the FAFSA. Speaking of, read this by Scannell & Kurz's Aaron Mahl.

Tell Me About Yourself

In my spare time, which I'm finding less and less of these days, I like to volunteer whenever possible. Whether it's a soup kitchen, pro bono management consulting, or something education related like alumni volunteering at admission events or anything in the K12 arena really, I take a lot of pleasure in finding ways to give back to my immediate and surrounding community.

Tell me about yourself.jpg

The other day I had a really fantastic experience holding mock interview sessions for high school juniors. I sat at a table and every 10 or so minutes a new student would come introduce themselves and I'd start..."tell me about yourself." I wasn't disappointed a single time.

From the student whose family moved here from another country when he was in third grade and lacks confidence in his [really superb] English; to the cosmetology student who isn't only taking courses in high school and a local college, but spending her weekends networking with makeup artists in New York; or the self-identified dyslexic guy who not only owned the learning disorder but also went into great detail into how he works so diligently to overcome it each day--I simply sat there in awe.

I listened as students talked about their strengths and weaknesses, opening their vulnerabilities up to a complete stranger--something that's hard to do as an adult, let alone a high school student. I saw passion in the eyes of the student who talked about the feeling of accomplishment he gained from replacing a side panel on a car; felt the love from a student far beyond his years when he talked about how he wasn't currently working because he was helping his family watch his younger siblings so his parents could work; and saw the ambition in each student expressing their dreams for the future, whether those entailed heading directly into the workforce, moving away to college, or joining the military. The dreams were all different--the passion the same.

I follow a ton of threads, groups, pages, and communities dedicated to college admission, both the profession itself and the students who make the profession, well, a profession. There have been plenty of times where I've seen counselors (both school and admission) who are completely jaded when it comes to today's students. As someone who doesn't work in the industry, I guess it's easy for me to say that I just can't see how that's possible. But based on my recent experience, I can say the quickest way to tear out of that slump is simply to ask a student to..."tell me about yourself."

I can't wait to do it again.

#EMchat: Digital Tools and Social Platforms

Huge thanks to Gil Rogers at Chegg for joining us to discuss the 2015 Social Admissions Report last night. The topic spanned the report, digital search tools, and social platforms -- and obviously how all of these impact enrollment strategy. Check out the transcript below. As always, join #EMchat throughout the week for great conversations centered around enrollment management, but specifically Thursday nights at 9 eastern for awesome chats like this. Have a great weekend!
Chech here:

https://storify.com/alexmwilliams_/emchat-digital-tools-and-social-platforms