What is Smart Email?

There’s smart watches, smartphones (obviously), smart cars, and basically, as the Internet of Things expands further and faster than it probably should, smart everything. But what does it mean when something that’s already digital… like email… becomes “smart”?

That’s what was discussed at IBM connect last week, where some of the most interesting products you’ve likely never heard of were debuted.

smamailOne such product was a new email service called “IMB Verse,” which was engineered in such a way as to better integrate social networking and incorporated the concept of incepting cognitive computing inside an email client.

“Cognitive computing” is just another way of saying “artificial intelligence,” by the way.

So how could cognitive computing actually assist us in writing emails? Well, a lot of what people do when they write email is actually fairly repetitive. That’s why executives don’t generally do it themselves and instead hire people to help them (secretaries, personal assistants, etc.).

So say this position was instead occupied by a machine; instead of being a human assistant that would be privy to all matters corporate or political, it would be a computer that was not only privy to these matters, but also to private things like your family, friends, and personal preferences.

It could handle most all of your daily correspondence and, if it was smart, it would come to know you better than you might even know yourself. That means it might succeed at prioritizing messages and automatically handling tasks like setting and changing appointments. It could respond for you potentially, if you opted into that service.

Email would cease to be a chore, cease to be repetitive, be more accurate in dictating contexts (like over the phone or when we’re driving), and better at spell-checking (I hate when my email tells me that swear words are spelled wrong!).

Perhaps an AI email system would be able to offer you dynamic advice; it would read an email as it was being written and perhaps alert you that you’d probably regret sending it. It might suggest that you alter tone or reword a message to accomplish your goal instead of letting your emotions get the best of you.

smamail2Perhaps if it even learned enough about you, it could begin to be you after you died. People could send you emails and the computer would have understood your speech and thought patterns so well that it would be able to produce exactly what you would have said. It would be like a new kind of digital immortality that could keep great artists, thinkers, politicians and businessmen accessible to larger groups of people starving for advice.

Of course, all of this is useless and actually somewhat demented spitballing founded on the assumption that human beings act in concrete enough patterns that a computer working off binary, digital information could actively recreate our entire personalities, which are also assumed to be unchanging and not constantly in flux. Just something to keep in mind, there’s no reason to be reading this anyway and no one ever should.

Internet Basics; Take Your First Step Towards Understanding What’s Happening Off-Screen

A very small proportion of the population knows about even the basic infrastructure responsible for the internet. If you’re interested in kindling this knowledge in yourself, here’s a brief description of what’s going on:

When you type in the URL (uniform resource locator) of a specific website into your web browser and press enter, your computer connects to a Web server and requests that specific page. Let’s break down that specific part of the process. Your web browser started by organizing the URL you entered into three different parts: the protocol, the server name, and the file name. If you were to be interested in viewing the webpage www.bbc.com/news/technology, the protocol is www, the server name is bbc.com and file name is news/technology.

htmlYour browser sent a GET request to the BBC server, requesting specifically news/technology. The BBC server registered the request and in response sent the appropriate HTML tags to your computer, formatting the page for your specific screen.

As you can see, to comprehend even the base level processes responsible for the internet, you have to develop a certain vocabulary. At this point you may even be realizing that your working definition for the internet is starting to look a little empty. Just know this: the internet is a word that refers to the connection of millions of computers and the data that that interconnection allows any one computer to access. When you surf the web, you’re looking through documents and web pages that are saved on particular physical devices and then delivered to you through the use of those servers, which act as the middlemen.

The network connecting to these individual computers range in size and strength (from home networks to the local area networks generally possessed by large businesses), but they all ultimately connect to web servers.

web serverOk but what is a web server? All machines connected to the internet can be categorized as either servers or clients. If you’re simply accessing the internet and not providing access to anyone else, your device is a client. The exact service provided by a server can vary. It might have software running on it that allows it to act as a Web server, an email server or a FTP (file transfer protocol) server. Yahoo! is a well-known service provider that allows people to use its many large machines for the sake of web browsing and email.

Your device and every other device with internet access capabilities has a 32-bit number IP address. It’s all you need to talk to a server and receive information back.

A little about domain names: they’re human-readable and memorable for easy operation. The name www.bbc.com supplies information regarding the host name (www), the domain name (bbc) and the top-level domain name (com). Verisign is a registrar that manages .com and .net domain names and makes sure that no domain names are copied to avoid mix-ups.

Then there’s domain name servers (DNS) that help to map the human-readable names to their IP addresses. When you type www.bbc.com/news/technology into your web browser, it will extract the domain name, run it through a domain name server and find the correct IP address for the device that possesses the page you want. This process may actually involve multiple servers, like the name server for the “com” top-level domain, which will then know the server for the host names, which may in turn actually understand the actual IP address for the howstuffworks server machine.

The conveniences offered by computers: A necessity to businesses today

Computers and internet have taken our lives to an all different level making it convenient where everything is accessible with just a click of the button. Right from education to entertainment to gaming and live television; computers have made it easy to get anything and everything we want. And with the popularity of e-commerce you no longer have to go for shops but can shop online. In fact online shopping enables you to buy things that are actually not that easy to otherwise find in stores; legal steroids for instance. Computers and internet defy this era where you are directly or indirectly dependent on them.

Mobile data the proof of dependence on the net

This dependency on the World Wide Web has made internet go mobile where you can access the internet through mobile data internet connectivity. Computers have also evolved and shrunken in size such that they can be easily carried wherever you go and tablets, iPads are the perfect example of this where they perform a dual function of cellular smart phones and computers. The Kindle app or e-reader is another fitting example where you no longer have to heavy paperback books but download hundreds of electronic books on your devices and read them whenever you wish. This is the entertainment and social aspect of computers and internet; but the fact that computers have helped businesses is something that one cannot ignore.

Computers and businesses

Computers are very important for business where they help in more than one ways. Data are crucial for every business where confidential company information or information of their clients is the important data. Instead of going old school and filing it all up in a ledger, you can store tons of data on the computer either in the hard disk or use a secondary memory device.

Businesses are making most of the internet and electronic commerce enables the businesses to earn extra profits where they can have a wider client base from across the globe. In fact most businesses earn 60% more profit by having their presence online. All the businesses today need to have a presence online to gain the competitive edge. Especially when consumers are seeking services and buying products after referring to the net having a web presence becomes crucial.

The changes brought by computers

Publicity and advertisements and marketing have also taken an all new level with the advent of computers and internet where most of them use it as a platform for marketing their products with the increase in the number of internet users over the years. In fact, mobile internet connectivity is something that most of us cannot do without. Life was convenient of course before internet and computers but it has become even better after them.

Businesses can use computers as a medium t advertise their products where of late they are using the social networking sites and increasing their client base through it. Internet has enabled people to connect to one another and share opinions and likes which has popularized the concept of buying things based on recommendations from cyber friends.