Big Data and AI in Manufacturing Processes

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We live in a consumerist society, and that means that products of all sorts are being made all the time. That’s been the case since by and large the start of the Industrial Revolution, but what’s being made in more recent years is definitely of a greater variety and that’s a good thing. So much more of what is made these days AND has widespread buyer appeal for people will be classified as tech, and that really shouldn’t come as a surprise given how incredibly digital our lives are now.

There’s more a cyclical arrangement with this though; technology is affecting manufacturing, and manufacturing is affecting technology to much the same extent. There’s a term that’s come into use recently and it’s probably one you’re not familiar with – the Industry 4.0 paradigm that puts some structure to how there is an exponential increase in the use of technology in manufacturing. For many of use the first thing that will jump to mind is the use of 3D printing for example.

That gives us one great example of how technology is at least to some extent revolutionizing manufacturing, and here at 4GoodHosting we’re going to always take an interest in any of these kinds of topics because better technology in manufacturing is front and center with data centers too plus a whole lot else that’s tied into what we do for people. So let’s take this week’s entry to look at big data and artificial intelligence and how they’re contributing to redefining what manufacturing is.

Collection of Building Blocks

Getting back to the Industry 4.0 paradigm, it is most characterized by an exponential increase in the use of technology. Software solutions are at the forefront for this, with enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing engineering systems (MES), and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). Then there are the technology building blocks required for industry 4.0 with the IoT (Internet of Things), cloud computing, low latency network connectivity with 5G / Wi-Fi 6E, and big data analytics. And it’s big data working with the IoT that is situated to have the most integral role in manufacturing processes.

IoT sensors help with the various parts of the manufacturing process by capturing generated data, and the right ones are capable of sending this data over a low latency network to the cloud infrastructure. Data collection is continuous and happens at all times and as a result it is always a huge volume of data that is collected. One single manufacturer could generate terabytes of data every day and so using the term ‘big data’ is warranted here.

Making the right type of sense of the data and incorporating it properly is not easy. Plus, traditional analytical methods don’t fit here because they either can’t be scaled at all or they can’t be scaled anywhere to the extent they need to be. But here’s where AI steps in and assists in a big way. By enabling big data analytics gaining more accurate and usable insights from large volumes of data becomes possible.

To a lesser extent machine learning and deep learning technologies come into play here too.

Proven Impacts

Big data and AI have major impacts on modern manufacturing in more than a few ways. The five biggest of them are these”

  • Supply Chain Improvement

The complexity of most supply chains usually makes them challenging. Multiple vendors, suppliers, customers, warehouses, and distribution centers are all parts of them for most manufacturers. Organizations supply chains produce a large volume of data and existing procedures don’t cut it when making data visible in the way and extent it needs to be. AI can process large volumes of data and give the optimal way to manage the supply chain, plus more efficient synchronization of data from vendors, suppliers, and other supply chain partners. The result has the potential to be a more streamlined end-to-end supply chain.

  • Costs

Artificial Intelligence can also aid in the manufacturing process by reducing costs. Manufacturing facilities are cost-centers for organizations and it’s possible to cut back on the coast for manufacturing operations that boosts profits and / or the ability to sell products at more competitive prices. This can be done through mapping cost distribution and AI can also determine the importance of each line item in the expense table, identify waste, and be more actively involved in maintenance too.

  • Predictions

When it is paired with a large quantity of historical data AI can make solid predictions about various aspects of a manufacturer’s operations. This can be anything from optimizing production according to demand or getting ahead of predictive maintenance can also be done where machine breakdowns are predicted. Better inventory management can be a part of this too.

  • Quality Control

Artificial intelligence can contribute to quality control using hi-resolution images to identify defects. Machine learning and deep learning algorithms compare the products produced with the standard product and this may allow products with shortcomings to be identified and removed from the production line.

  • Product Development

Better analysis of big data may also mean better new products. One thing that is available is usage patterns from consumers made available as digital data. By identifying unfulfilled needs of consumers to develop new products AI can be very effective, and may be contributing to anything and everything from design, testing, production, and marketing to sales.


Andi – New Search Engine Powered by AI and Natural Language Processing

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There’s a lot of acronyms out there that people won’t know what they stand for, but if you’ve got any interest in the digital world and / or work in digital marketing you’re going to know what a SERP is. That acronym of course stands for search engine results pages, and it’s well understood that coming in on the 1st page of any browser’s SERPs is pretty darn important for the visibility of your company or whatever interest you have that has you online with your website.

But what if the basis of all that was to be turned on its head, and what the search engine presented to you based on your search query wasn’t a simple list of web pages that match it. That’s the way a new search engine called Andi works, and what makes it different is that it goes further than simply just understanding the question itself. Instead, it uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to instead understand the question and make educated guesses as to the intent of the question.

The one criteria is that for best results the search terms need to be as detailed as possible, but there’s plenty of times when even the longest and most detailed search terms don’t bring back anything more appropriate than what a more basic version would. This is something that gets our attention fast in the same way it would for any Canadian web hosting provider, and naturally as we make it so that websites are on the web and available for indexing in SERPS.

If there’s room for improvement then that’s always the way to go, and there’s plenty to like about the sound of finding exactly what you’re looking for on the web more quickly. So let’s use this week’s entry here to look at Andi in more detail and see if this isn’t one new web browser that’s about to explode in popularity.

Smart Alternative

The Andi search engine mixes large language models and live web data to come up with a more detailed answer to questions entered by searchers. AI and natural language processing are used to understand a question’s intent, and from there the browser will look at the top 10 to 20 results for any given query. The locations that make the cut are then overviewed with large language models to generate a more direct answer to the question, and ideally one that will get the user to where they want to be quicker.

The makers of Andi have said this is something that has been very needed for a long time, and especially given the way the web has evolved over the better part of 30 years. The belief there is that Google – among others – is built for how the web worked 20 years ago. What’s happened is the cognitive overload generated from ads and links overloading the user has gotten the point where it’s distracting and degenerating the web-searching process.

The aim is to provide direct answers to questions, not simply dump out a list of links where you might find that answer. It’s a real departure from the standard way of thinking around all of this, but it’s something that is going to have more and more merit to it as users demand a better web browsing experience.



Geared for Younger Demographic

It’s also very clear that this new browser is designed for a younger demographic and one that simply doesn’t get the same amount of nookie as the generations that came before them. Andi is likened to getting search results in a social media feed, and that may be all that needs to be said about why this new browser type is going to be a really good fit for younger uses.

People from that age demographic who were able to try Andi out said they like the clean reading appearance of the search results too, and all in all it’s believed to be designed so that it lines up with younger users’ preference for visual feeds and chat apps. These are conversational interfaces, and catering to that preference played a big part in how Andi came to be.

It’s a marked departure from every other approach to designing a web browser, and it’s that conversational interface that is going to allow Andi to take on the big guys in Chrome, Edge, Safari and the like. If you feel that too much information, spam, and clutter in the results

There’s some reason to believe this new type of web browser may appeal to older folks too, and that’s because there’s a concurrent belief that users are tiring of Google’s search algorithms not being as objective as people would like them to be. Takes a very discerning user to be able to even conclude that, but there are ever-greater numbers of them in the older segments of users too.

Search Alternatives Needed

The question becomes though how many people will be easily persuaded to move from their current browser to a new and experimental one like Andi. The one thing that will sway them is if they are aware that there is simply too much information online now, and the problem being that most if is not quality information. Many of the newer search engines simply duplicate the look and feel of Google, but new means of intaking and digesting information may be an impetus to slow change.

There are also other ways this browser is going to be different. There will be no charge for the service and it won’t track users’ personal identifying information. There is already talks of it partnering with tools like Amazon Alexa and other kinds of voice-powered search, but departing from the model of current searches where they are bundled with advertising may create a need to create revenue by some means.


Estimates of More Than 3 of 4 Websites Are Stealing Data

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It was a long time ago now when browsing the web was a newfound thing, and of course that will be going back to the days of dial-up modems and all the other archaic stuff that we’ve been fortunate enough to leave far behind now. But as much as using the World Wide Web was more of an ordeal back then, the one thing it may have had going for it was it was a much safer and less risky endeavor. We certainly didn’t hear of malware, spyware, or -ware of pretty much any sort and we weren’t at risk of having our data stolen.

No one would suggest devolving when it comes to the Web given everything we use it for these days, and that sentiment is probably universal. For some though the way we’ve swayed to the other far end of the spectrum needs to be a concern, because cyber security risks are more ominous and more of a threat than ever before too. The way the Internet has evolved and continues to evolve is what makes these risks and threats possible in the same way it makes all of the ‘good’ possible too.

What we’re going to look at with our entry this week is research that suggests that upwards of three-quarters of websites are either stealing data, or have the capacity to do so. Here at 4GoodHosting we’re like any quality Canadian web hosting provider in that this is a subject that makes sense to be shared with our customers and those who might be here reading our blog. It’s fine to be reliant on the web safety protocols you either practice or already have in place for your device, but a question for you then – how much of the time are you on the web and NOT on your home Wi-Fi network?

Probably fairly often now, just like the rest of us. So let’s look at all of this in more detail and try to gauge just how much of a problem this is.

Wary of Search Bars

They may seem like nothing out of the ordinary and never a cause for concern, but seeing a search bar at the top of a webpage may need to be cause for caution now and in the future. See one, use it, and there is a chance that your personal information is in the process of being leaked. Leaked to who? Large networks of advertisers who are keen to get as much of your disposable income as possible. This is known as data crawling on the internet, and it’s happening with increasing frequency all the time.

So frequent in fact that research conducted by Norton Labs has come out with an estimate that more than 80% of websites you visit are sending your search queries to 3rd parties, and they’re given plenty of incentives to do that unfortunately. This security experiment crawled 1 million of the top websites on the net, and then once they’d used the internal site search feature on websites they tracked what happened with their searches. The results were a little shocking with how bad they were.

From what we can understand, the search term they used for each was ‘jellybeans’ and the idea behind that was to have search terms easily found in the network traffic. The results showed that with the top websites having internal site search, 81.3% of them were leaking search terms to 3rd party groups in one form or another.

And these are large, and large-profile websites we’re talking about here. For example, the report said that CNN is among them, and for networks we’re talking about giants like Google too. That end of it is probably less surprising, and who knows where the data goes from there when it’s the company behind the software itself that’s after your data. There is also the indication that there are more ways sites are acquiring and selling user data, but HTTP requests made that too muddy to determine exactly.

Policies Come Up Short

The last thing to say about this here is that privacy policies informing users of how data is collected / handled when they visit or search on the site aren’t anywhere near being entirely upfront about it. The estimate was that around only 13% of privacy policies made it clear that search terms could be collected and redistributed as data. Kats said. This makes it so that regular users are not in the know much at all with how their private data is handled based on the complicated wording usually found in privacy policies.

So what is the average person to do? The most straightforward piece of advice is to block 3rd-party trackers so that you are minimizing how much of your data is collected and then shared. You can set this up on Chrome, but some people already prefer browsers like Safari and Brave that have these tools built in. And then of course you have privacy-focused search engines such as DuckDuckGo or Brave Browser.

Smart Approaches to Website Retrofits

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Not often that someone builds a house and then does absolutely nothing to improving their home over the course of the entire time they’re living there. Same thing can be said for a place of business, or the business itself. Nearly every business is in the digital space, and there’s thousands that are doing e-commerce explicitly. In these cases the website may well be the house and home for these business in that space, and the same should apply – your website as it is launched is very likely not a finished product. If you’re pleased with it that’s fine, but it is best to take a critical eye to it. And that’s true a week later or many years later.


It may have been enough to get the project going and begin attracting visitors or customers, but ideally this is only the beginning. Staying relevant often means websites must undergo ongoing re-evaluation and re-design. It may even be necessary to completely change things up if you are having issues with bringing in those visitors. Facilitating the ideal digital environment for any visitor browsing your website is what makes that happen best. Even minor changes can be integral in boosting popularity and traffic.


It has been a long time since we have touched on website design here in our blog, and of course as a leading Canadian web hosting provider taking the initiative to put our customers in the know as much as possible when it comes to their site is always going to be a priority. Not everyone is a webmaster who’ll be in their account’s CP panel often, but if you are and you have the wherewithal of how sites work and rank then you’ll want to know when it’s time to improve your website.


So that’s what we’re going to look at with this week’s entry.



We can start by saying that knowing your product or service is very beneficial. You then take that knowledge and ask yourself if your website’s functionality is delivering that information for customers in a manner that will be conducive to them a) finding what they need in the most straightforward manner, and b) continuing to move further through the site and interacting in it in a way that makes them take the actions you’d prefer them to take.


Here are some questions you can ask yourself:


  • How is the website’s loading time
  • Is navigating the website and locating ___ without prior knowledge of its structure suitably easy
  • Is the design of the website aesthetically pleasing
  • Does the site function as intended, and do you feel that the UI / UX is in line with that
  • Would adding to the website improve it
  • Does the whole of the website represent your vision for if. If not, why


Another idea is to have a friend or professional acquaintance also look over the website while asking them to perform a specific task. If it’s relatively easy for them to be successful with that task then your website is on the right path. You can ask that person the very same questions that we suggest that you ask yourself during personal evaluation.


Redesign Time?


We get that some people need to have greater expectations for their website, while others will do just fine with using a free website builder through their Canadian web hosting provider. For those that need more of a site and are more reliant on it for the profitability of their business, always being open to a functional redesign is the smart way to view your site.


If that’s you, here is a list of potential scenarios where you must take note and address the problem:


  • Website has a higher-than-average bounce rate
  • More than 3 seconds is needed for initial load time
  • New and fresh content is lacking
  • Mobile devices experience your website poorly (you need a mobile website)
  • Navigating the website’s content and functionality isn’t simple
  • Your website’s design doesn’t match the brand
  • The website has dead links


Tips & Tricks for Website Design


There are some universally-positive attributes for websites, and if you’re evaluating your website for quality for the first time then it can be very helpful to know what to be looking for.

It is best to establish a clean and simplistic design, and the fastest way to do that is eliminating clutter and modernizing the elements of your website. This way the appeal is both aesthetic and functional. It helps to also understand that scrolling is faster and easier than clicking, so it’s best to avoid tabs and overlapping graphical elements like carousels, accordions, and sliders.


You should also look into whether the font you are using for text on the website is good for readability. There is plenty of information online about research that indicates certain ones being better than others. In addition, having good contrast between your text color and background color is helpful, and of course the way the text is written is important too. Hire a web copywriter if this if analyzing this is beyond the scope of your abilities.


Next, understand that whitespace is your friend. It helps guide your visitor’s attention and showcase what is important. You should also try to have visual cues to direct visitors to your website’s right places and ensure there’s no reason why they would miss the key elements you’d like to present. Visual hierarchies are very helpful too. You can provide polls, infographics, or interactive graphical elements with a content-based value which can help you increase the interest and improve the readability of on-page information.


Importance of Your CRM system


A CRM is your customer relationship management system. They provide a way for online projects to store customer and visitor data, track interactions, and share this information with colleagues. CRMs also let online businesses manage their relationships with customers for the growth and expansion business owners will be looking for. So how you do choose the right CRM for your website if you are retrofitting the website?


The process should be something like this:


  • Clearly defining and identifying your goals to figure out what CRM’s functionality would serve your needs best
  • Trying demos of CRM services to get an idea of how it would suit your online business
  • Reviewing compatibility with your design and software on an ongoing basis
  • Determining how well implementation of any one CRM will work
  • Evaluating if your team would use it effectively or require additional training to use as needed