Automatically Add Audio to Your Website with Amazon Polly

I suspect you understand that your website is one of the primary tools you use to engage with both prospects and clients. It is how many people find you and starts the process of understanding what you offer. It is also a channel your clients can use to access information, documents, and other tools to help them better manage their insurance program.

Amazon Polly

The expectation of website visitors continues to change. One engagement tool I have added to my website is the ability to automatically create playable audio for every article I publish using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Polly Service.

WordPress Plugin for Amazon Polly

Amazon Polly is a web service that automatically converts text to audio. Using the Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress, you can provide visitors to your WordPress website with audio recordings of your content. The plugin creates audio files in any of the voices and languages supported by Amazon Polly. Your visitors can stream the audio at their convenience using inline audio players and mobile applications.

You can configure the plugin to do the following:

How to Easily Pay Your Bills By Emailing Your Checks

Over the last few years, I’ve written extensively about the need for insurance agents to accept electronic payments. It seems everywhere you look, there is a new electronic payment service available such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Stripe, and who knows how many others.

Use Deluxe echecks

The other side of electronic payments is you being able to pay your agency bills electronically. And it has not been easy or possible – until now.

Deluxe eChecks has created a secure process (called Deluxe eChecksPro) that allows you to send a check to anyone with an email address to pay your bills. You may know Deluxe as the company that sends the little box of paper checks when you open a bank account.

And, yes, you read that correctly. I now can send a check as payment to anyone with an email address virtually instantaneously using the Deluxe eChecks platform.

Here’s how Deluxe eChecks works:

HomeZada Uses Machine Learning to Create a Home Inventory

No one ever wants to suffer a significant loss to their home. Fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated average of 355,400 home structure fires per year between 2012 and 2016. That is 973 every day. The wildfires out west and the hurricanes along the coast also caused catastrophic damage.

HomeZada Insurance Inventory App

The real problems start when the homeowner needs to provide the insurance company with an inventory of contents damaged.

Over the last few years, there have been a plethora of web platforms and mobile apps that seek to help homeowners create and maintain an inventory so that in the event of a major loss they will be able to show what possessions they had in the house.

The problem continues to be the time needed to complete a detailed inventory list fully. A new firm is seeking to streamline this process using machine learning techniques to create a list of contents from video automatically.

How to Stop Spam Robocalls

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. consumers received approximately 2.4 billion robocalls per month in 2016. It feels like I receive a large number of those calls. It has gotten so bad that I don’t answer my phone (cell or office) anymore from a number I don’t recognize.

stop robocalls

The FCC is taking steps to try to stem the tide of robocalls and texts. They do provide some helpful information on how to stop unwanted robocalls and texts. An article on the FCC website – Beating Back Unwanted Robocalls – goes into more depth on the problem.

Even with strong enforcement action, it is unlikely these annoying calls will stop.

For several years I have used an app on my phone that helps me identify potential scams, spam, and telemarketing calls. The app is called Hiya. It is available for both Android and iOS smartphones.

Start Using Mobile Excel Insert Data from Picture

It is easy to miss the impact that machine learning is having on our everyday lives. A recent example that caught my attention is the new capability Microsoft has added to the mobile versions of Excel (Android and iOS) that allows you to take a picture of a table of information and convert the picture to data and insert it into a spreadsheet.

Excel Insert Data From Picture

This functionality is available in the latest versions of Excel for iPhone and Excel for Android phones and tablets.