Virtual fairs, the future that is already here

Online events can connect with business marketing strategies. Making them visible, generating expectation and trust are key to positioning them.

As covid-19 has spread around the world, companies have had to cancel or postpone their face-to-face events. The behavior of the virus and government decisions make it impossible to be certain of the dates on which these massive gatherings can be held, which, despite the fact that they can reactivate the economy, pose a risk of contagion for the community.

According to estimates from the entertainment industry, in Colombia the losses due to the cancellation of events amount to 200,000 million pesos. With this panorama and given the growing need to adapt the communication strategies of companies to the current context, virtual events and fairs are emerging as an ideal solution to maintain contact with buyers and investors to make the work of brands visible.

What must be considered?

Although the essence of the organizations must remain, this does not mean that it is necessary to transfer to virtuality the concept that had been defined for the physical event. To design a strategy, one must start from the following questions: How do I capture the attention of my audience? How can I create an experience that is supported by interaction and personalization? How important am I giving to communication? Should I hire an IT provider or is my team trained? and How can I convert visits into transactions?

These questions represent a challenge that requires knowledge of the company, the interests of the public that previously attended in person, and digital marketing trends. Colombia is advancing rapidly in the development and conceptualization of online events, with the surprise that its organizers are going beyond the exhibition and focus on attraction and experience.

Colombiamoda, a response to reinvention

Colombiamoda, the fashion and textile fair that has been held without interruptions for three decades, will have its first virtual version this year. According to Sebastián Díez Vargas, Marketing Director of Inexmoda, “Colombiamoda was born in 1990, in the most difficult times for drug trafficking. Historically, it has remained facing the most difficult moments and today, when technology plays in our favor, we want to preserve that spirit”.

Technology becomes the main ally to carry out commercial transactions. Communication and logistics are decisive in creating a good experience.

Keeping that essence as a north, allowed them to understand its value in this context in which the textile industry needs to move its cash registers, expand and come up with new proposals. With the reputation of being one of the largest fashion fairs in Latin America and with a defined concept that integrates fashion, knowledge and business, they studied the needs of the environment and the behavior of digital audiences.

The result of three months of remote work, with a marathon pace, will be evident from July 27 to August 3. The strategy was unified on the site  , allowing exhibitors, buyers and visitors in general to enter a platform that adapts to their role at the fair.

This edition, which for the first time lasts for a week, will have a business meeting, in which nearly 300 brands will be able to create commercial alliances with national and international buyers. One of the great novelties is the Market Place which, in alliance with the online sales platform Mercado Libre, will allow the traditional retail trade show to be maintained. In addition, to connect brands with consumers and members of the fashion industry, they will have shows with catwalks, performances and art.

In terms of training, the Knowledge Pavilion, created in partnership with the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, will have a program of 25 free events and a new model of semi-personalized consulting called Masterclass and Consulting.

One of the great challenges that companies face with the digitization of their events and fairs is to generate confidence in the organization and the results. For this, it is essential to have a 360 diffusion that includes online and offline  media  and create strategies focused on the reputation of the company and the value of the event in times of pandemic.


Automation: investment and savings

Automation supports the digital transformation of organizations, optimizes expenses, increases productivity and allows human intervention to be more strategic.

What is automation?

All the activities that are carried out in an organization are supported by processes, that is, they are activated in response to a need, they require information to comply with them, and they produce a result that requires monitoring for a certain time.

Automating processes is using technology to perform repetitive tasks without human assistance, in order to avoid interruptions in processes and optimize resources, especially time, effort and money. The industry, robotics and technology areas of companies use it to make better decisions.

Among other things, automation allows, through the installation of software or platforms, to simplify and speed up processes, increase effectiveness, productivity and security in companies, minimize the number of errors, achieve greater traceability and have better control of results.

Because it is important?

  • It is transversal to the operation of the company. Automation involves everything from the processes of the financial and technology areas to those of human management.
  • It helps to identify failures in activities and find possible solutions in less time.
  • By creating and assigning a single way to execute tasks, you standardize the results.
  • Although human intervention is less frequent, it is more valuable and strategic.
  • It enables the monitoring of each of the phases of the processes, gives the option of having access to the results in real time.
  • It allows obtaining consolidated reports with indicators, for example of compliance, which become opportunities for improvement.
  • It is key to identify and correct points where the return is low and the investment is high.
  • Strengthens the Management Systems of each company.
  • It helps to optimize the relationship between the client and the company.
  • Improve communication, as it eliminates intermediaries and creates quick solutions.

What must be considered?

To automate a process it is necessary:

  • Knowing it from start to finish, being clear who is involved, what information is needed, how it is transformed and what the final result is.
  • Measure the times that each task requires and show which is the one with the greatest investment to establish improvements.
  • Have as support a software, application or even Excel macros that help facilitate the process.
  • Seek advice that allows to obtain a result with north, boost the growth of the organization and facilitate adaptation to change.
  • Be clear about the objective of automation and the time it will be implemented, that is, if it will be maintained in the short, medium or long term.
  • Understand that being a gradual transformation may require changes or adjustments.
  • Documenting all the information, doing so helps to guarantee its permanence over time and to see opportunities for improvement.

And the collaborators?

Sensitizing human talent is key so that automation is not seen as a threat, but rather as a positive change for organizations. More than a way to replace manual work, it will provide practical solutions so that the operational workload decreases and employees focus on strategic issues of planning, innovation and management of digitalization.

Automation does not nullify human intervention, what it does is deal with specific processes so that the collaborator can focus on the strategic aspects of the company.


The cell phone, a vital tool

Artificial intelligence and medicine are saving lives. In times of pandemic, mobile applications and tools facilitate early detection of covid-19.

Public institutions and technology companies are focused on protecting the health of the citizens of the world. To prevent the spread of covid-19 and provide timely assistance, they took on the challenge of developing systems that identify and alert citizens who have symptoms or have interacted with positive cases.

These tools offer services such as virus exposure alerts, symptom recording, access to recommendations, and interaction with health professionals. These developments based on artificial intelligence, which revolutionize the concept of collaborative information, are setting a precedent in the use of technology for medical purposes:


CoronaMadrid:  the application created by the Community of Madrid, compatible with Android and IOS operating systems, allows citizens to self-assess their state of health to identify suspicious cases and receive care from the health authorities. After registering the symptoms, Corona Madrid issues recommendations and instructions, some of them designed for people who live with positive cases. This App is supported on the website .

The fact:  on Google Play it has been downloaded by more than 50,000 people and on the App Store it is the 36th application in the medicine category.


David19:  the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and IOVLabs, a technology services company, created this application with the purpose of collaboratively sharing information about covid-19 without jeopardizing the privacy of users, who have the option of uploading data about their health and travel during the quarantine. The sum of all the information creates an interactive map that allows knowing the expansion of this disease and directing governments to refocus their social distancing strategies.

The fact:  The future of this application is to be part of the channels for attention to possible health emergencies, for example those related to climate change.


Exposure notifications:  Apple and Google are developing an API for their devices that will issue alerts when people are close to a positive case. Although the button is already available, this set of protocols and tools needs a series of applications that support them, which are expected to be developed in the coming months.

The fact:  This API can be activated or deactivated at any time and does not collect personal information. In addition, it allows you to connect Android and IOS operating systems.


CoronApp:  This application developed by the National Digital Agency of Colombia has a double purpose: to create a map that shows the real state of the spread of covid-19 in the country and to make it easier for citizens to monitor their symptoms, receive recommendations and know the location of the health centers to which they can access. The data collected is monitored in real time by the National Institute of Health.

The fact:  this App compatible with Android and IOS systems does not consume data in prepaid and postpaid plans.

The great challenge facing the developers of these tools and applications is to protect the privacy of the users and incorporate constant updates.

This set of applications and tools facilitate early detection and access to true information, updated in real time. Although there have been some bugs, developers are called to update them frequently, based on the information provided by citizens, to create a better user experience.


Cybersecurity, learn to protect your company

Information is one of a company’s most valuable assets. Having data detection and protection tools and managing a security culture are crucial to preventing or responding to a cyber attack.

Downloading applications from unauthorized sites, connecting to free Wi-Fi networks, creating weak passwords, and opening emails from unknown people are common actions that open the door to hackers.

Colombia is one of the Latin American countries that receives the most attempts at cyber attacks, most of which are directed at companies and government institutions. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, more than 40 billion cyberattacks were carried out. These actions put information about the operation of the company, employees, customers, finances, investors and expansion projects at risk and can lead to data theft, identity theft and scams or phishing  .

“In terms of cybersecurity, the success of the current organization will be defined by its ability to respond, minimizing the impact on its business. Awareness is the first preventive measure”, Luis Martíns.

How to protect the information?

The technology (IT) areas of companies must measure the degree of risk to which they are exposed according to their nature; This does not mean that any are exempt, but that there are organizations, for example financial entities or government institutions, that have a higher risk.

Based on this diagnosis, IT must define the detection systems, IDS, and protection, IPS, of intruders that allow examining the network and ports to recognize suspicious patterns and generate alerts. They must also explore other tools such as antivirus, encryption technologies and security patches, to simulate hacker attacks and assess the ability to defend and respond to these threats.

Having good cybersecurity practices builds customer trust and increases digital reputation.

Testing to adjust the protocols that will protect the company against real actions is an essential step. Luís Martins, Director of Cybersecurity at Multicert, a company focused on providing security solutions and which is Cadena’s ally to develop cybersecurity services in Colombia and the region, affirms that “organizations are subject to attacks with different levels of sophistication that require a response that protects them from the most common ones, while preparing to face the advanced and emerging ones”.

cybersecurity culture

Employees play a very important role in the discovery and inhibition of attacks, as they are the organization’s first line of defense. To create a safety culture, it is important to dialogue and offer periodic training sessions that help them make the right decisions and avoid dangerous actions. These recommendations can decrease the risk of a cyber attack:

  • Create passwords for documents that contain sensitive data or information.
  • Update the software and operating system to acquire the latest security news.
  • Give relevance to the antivirus, its function is to detect and eliminate threats.
  • Create strong passwords that are not easy to guess, avoid consecutive digits or names of people.
  • Be suspicious of emails sent by unknown senders, if they have links or files, do not open or download them until you verify the identity of the person who sent the email.
  • Avoid inserting external devices such as USB flash drives or hard drives because they may contain malicious files.
  • Always connect to authorized Wi-Fi networks, public ones are insecure and make you vulnerable to attack.
  • Create copies or backups.

Although in organizations there is a risk of being the target of a cyberattack, it is essential to detect threats in order to have a timely response. To achieve this, detection and protection systems and the good habits of collaborators are necessary.

Source:  Luís Martins, Director of Cybersecurity at Multicert.


Data science, a role that transforms

The world moves at great speed and companies are called to keep pace. Data science is the discipline that makes figures and algorithms an input to know the audience, innovate and optimize expenses.

What should companies do to get to know their customers better? What are the numbers provided by social networks and websites used for? Can a shopping strip become a source of information? Data science is capable of answering these and other questions related to the analysis of information as an input for making decisions.

This science unites disciplines that have been developed decades ago with new ways of reading the environment. It takes knowledge and techniques from mathematics, including statistics, systems engineering, and business intelligence to support data analysis with more advanced algorithms such as Artificial Intelligence,  Machine Learning  , and  Big Data . This multidisciplinary perspective breaks the scheme that the figures are only hard and pure data that concern certain areas of the company, to make them soft, useful and easy to interpret.

One of the great challenges of the data scientist is that his work is based on ethics and that the information collected does not put the privacy of users at risk.

According to Roberto Carlos Hincapié Reyes, PhD in engineering and dean of the School of Engineering at the Pontifical Bolivarian University, data science  “allows us to analyze combinations of a large amount of information and find patterns and relationships that are not simply visible.” .  Data science is what makes it possible to extract new data and information from that knowledge so that companies make decisions based on them.”

In organizations, data science has a very broad field of application that focuses on going beyond a correlation to find a causality. To understand it better, a data scientist has the training and criteria to understand and explain, for example, why when the dollar rises, the price of oil falls and vice versa or why if someone buys a few cans of beer, cheese and ham matured, you may be interested in acquiring a state-of-the-art television to watch a good soccer game. In both cases, the figures allow us to understand behaviors derived from them.

Why should companies add a data scientist to their workforce?

  • To have greater financial efficiency, optimize resources and find new investment alternatives.
  • Because it allows us to understand that the data historically stored in an organization, more than files, is an intangible that can become a monetizable value.
  • It allows us to get to know and get closer to customers, offer them solutions tailored to their tastes and needs. This represents higher income and loyalty.
  • To turn data into clear and understandable information for an organization.
  • It is essential to identify consumer habits and trends and create strategies that respond to them.

The world has understood that the functions of the data scientist can write a before and after in organizations. The challenge for those who are attracted to this discipline is to train not only in fundamental areas, that is, mathematics, algorithms, computing and data processing, but also in humanism, as an ethical call.

Source:  Roberto Caros Hincapié Reyes.
Electronic Engineer, PhD in Engineering
Dean of the Engineering School of the Pontifical Bolivarian University


5 steps to land in the digital world


Conversations in times of crisis

The Covid-19 situation has led companies to respond to a call that has been echoing for some years: reinvent themselves to create flexible work environments, prioritize honest communication and align business objectives with the personal aspirations of employees.

This pandemic has transformed businesses. From the spaces intended for work to the communication channels, they have adapted to the conditions of social isolation. Virtuality has facilitated the connection between work teams, the monitoring of processes and the exchange of knowledge, in order to create new business opportunities.

Companies have at their disposal a variety of communication tools such as email, WhatsApp, Zoom, Meets by Google Hangouts, Cisco WebEx, Jitsi and ooVoo, which allow the team to integrate without exposing it to the risks of moving around the city and have contact with other people.

Although these applications facilitate internal and external communication, the true value is in the message, in honest, clear and transparent communication that has the ability to reduce fear and build trust. Proof of this is that historically many companies have had the intranet as a one-way communication tool, with little interaction. Today this network is one of the means that employees have to be aware of the reality of their company and feel close to their team.

Dialogues that guide and reassure

Conversations should be the priority of organizations, what was previously perceived as dead spaces or inactivity, today is the opportunity to get closer to collaborators, learn about their concerns, get closer to their personal lives and let them know the financial conditions, the business challenges and opportunities. Doing so reduces uncertainty and generates more trust in the organization, which brings autonomy, co-responsibility and a positive impact on productivity.

Leaders are called to direct these spaces, to be direct, sensitive and to recognize the value that each collaborator has for the company. According to Susana Zapata, leader of Caramelo Escaso, a company that is an expert in organizational culture, “the leader must empower, provide autonomy and business knowledge, connect with conversations, measure the temperature of the team and download information. In short, he must be the bearer of that organizational culture”.

In addition, it is important to devise new spaces designed to strengthen personal ties. For example, you can establish a few weekly moments to share and recognize the talents of the collaborators in which they teach how to taste beers, dance, pair wines or draw, all based on the strengths of the team members. The important thing is to do it frequently to create the habit incorporated into the organizational culture. You should not imitate external models, or force a team, but be inspired and land ideas taking into account the particularities of the company.

Each company is a universe that today receives the same call: manage communication from virtuality with honesty and transparency to reduce fear. Meeting this challenge of reinventing oneself can bring important changes to the work environment and positively impact productivity.

When communication is honest, assertive and transparent, it has the power to reduce uncertainty and fear and increase confidence and autonomy.

5 keys to communicate with your team

1. Rescue the value of narratives.  When you communicate with anecdotes, stories and creativity, you transcend the theoretical and connect from the emotions.

2. Reinvention begins with the leaders.  In conjunctural moments like the ones we are experiencing, we need to communicate a key message that inspires employees to be where the company needs them. When the leader demonstrates his versatility and flexibility, he motivates and becomes an example.

3. Set clear rules.  When the team is empowered and committed to the business, they will be able to participate in creating flexible rules that involve less control and more freedom.

4. Symbols refresh.  WhatsApp stickers, personalized emoticons or gifs break with everyday life, create an atmosphere of closeness and allow recognition at special moments.

5. Reward ideas.  Create spaces to share new business models, ways of working or communicating. It is important that the ideas not only come from the managers, but that everyone contributes, gets involved and feels part of the solutions and the construction.

Source:  Scarce Candy team.


Parental Control Apps – Safe kids, calm parents.

Social isolation due to Covid-19 has strengthened the relationship between children and technology. Parents, in order to protect them from cyber risks, in addition to establishing rules, must know and install the available tools.

programs that care

Parental control apps restrict the content kids can access from their computers, tablets, and other smart devices. These, although they are always necessary, become more relevant in these times when our children spend more hours in front of the screens.

These 5 tools will protect you from cyber risks such as harassment, extortion, bullying, access to pornography, among others.


Kids place
This Google app, available for Android and IOS, allows parents to limit potentially risky smart device functions, such as downloading apps, making phone calls, sending text messages, or shopping online.
download it here


It is recognized as one of the best Apps for the variety of control and restriction functions: it allows you to block websites and applications, track the location and send you alerts when your children try to access prohibited content. In addition, it limits the time of use of the cell phone and applications.

Learn more about FamiSafe


Norton Family
The added value of this software is that it allows you to keep track of the websites visited, send alerts to parents in the event that any rule is violated, and monitor the social networks and videos accessed by the little ones. In addition, it provides monthly activity reports and allows instant blocking.

Learn about additional Norton Family features


Magic Desktop
This software creates a safe environment for children, with interactive design and development that allows them to have fun and learn new skills from play. Magic Desktop customizes the desktop appearance, filters emails, and recommends safe websites for your child to have a worry-free online experience.

In this link you can have a free trial


Kaspersky SafeKids
This tool blocks YouTube searches that contain sensitive content, monitors screen time, and shares important data such as the location and battery level of your children’s devices with you. It includes an application for parents to monitor their children’s behavior and configure tools based on the search reports it returns. She also shares advice from child psychologists who are experts in digital safety.

To find out more about Kaspersky SafeKids you can click here

It is important that in addition to downloading an application to protect children, you talk to them so that they understand that you look after their well-being and they do not feel pressured and look for other devices to access restricted content.

Tips to take care of your children

  • To prevent them from isolating themselves and losing control over their online behavior, keep technology out of the bedrooms and allow them to use it as long as they are in open spaces, like the living room and dining room, near you.
  • When your child tries to access websites or applications that require a username and password, accompany and guide them at the time of registration to limit the personal data they share.
  • It is important that in addition to having apps and software installed that block websites, apps, and features, you have an active antivirus that protects messages, chats, search history, and emails from infectious files.
  • Monitorea con frecuencia el historial de navegación y la carpeta de descargas de los ceulares, tablets o computadores de tus hijos para detectar qué tipo de contenido están consultando. Si evidencias que han borrado algunos datos de su huella digital, es importante que dialogues con ellos y tomes medidas correctivas.
  • Mantén la cámara web deshabilitada para evitar posibles espionajes o hackeos, lo puedes hacer desde el panel de control de computador o usando adhesivos.
  • Revisar las configuraciones de las redes sociales de los niños, en especial los seguidores, mensajes, contenido que comparten y las cuentas vinculadas.
  • It is important that you have a first experience with the games or applications that your children are going to use, to identify if they have advertising and what type it is, if it includes charges associated with the credit card and if it requires you to share your personal data such as location, email or home address.
  • If your child asks you about issues related to navigation, the Internet or security, and you don’t have the answer, look it up on the web, consult with experts or ask the people close to you. Your willingness to learn and teach will allow you to be closer to him.
  • Enable the options for children that some devices or platforms or television operators have, such as Samsung, Netflix and Claro.

Source:  Plinio Neira Vargas
Systems engineer, specialist in technology and information systems


On-demand services, the kings of the crisis

Support and products with 24/7 availability, those that are paid only when used, and delivered through technology, are the evolution of the service. What was an added value, is imposed as a rule in a world in which hours and spaces 100% for the office, study, family or rest are the past.

How to cross an offer with a demand in which it is not known when or where the clients will appear?

With technology, that is the answer.  If we have learned anything from the Covid-19 crisis, it is that time and space are relative, and they reinvent themselves from one day to the next.

While the house is the new world where families, children, the boss, work colleagues and leisure come together, and all at the wrong time – outside of traditional schedules – consumer demands go beyond all rules and have a new imperative: real, permanent, immediate, total availability.

An element is added to this trend, economic availability, while a few months ago, at the beginning of the confinement, customers perceived on-demand products and services as   an added value for which they were willing to pay more, today the reality at home is another, since you study with modular and virtual programs at any time, you receive food and other products at home in minutes, personalized and scheduled transportation, all at low prices.

The on-demand  formula  passed the test, although not all sectors or companies that used it did. Uber stopped operating in Colombia and laid off nearly 4,000 employees. Airbnb will decrease its annual income by more than 50% and suspend 2,000 contracts. However, Rappi is the protagonist in the streets, it makes deliveries with  robots , it is a great job shelter for people who have lost their jobs, it collapsed due to the great demand on Mother’s Day and categories such as pets, technology, solidarity menus, home, sports, books, virtual education, medical and vaccine services, and even the Wyls service, to rent vehicles for short trips.

Large couriers such as DHL also offer  On-demand home package delivery services  from mobile applications at no additional cost.

However, the  apps  that connect supply and demand will not be enough and it is time to join efforts between companies to create their own platforms and distribution centers that allow them to respond with technology-based on-demand service.

From On-line education to On-demand

According to the World Economic Forum, there are 1.2 billion children in the world in 186 countries affected by the closure of schools due to the pandemic . Online education was the salvation but it was an improvised process, without reliable internet access, without teacher preparation and with analogous digital learning methodologies. However, the changes initiated by the coronavirus could be here to stay as  online  education takes less time, is more democratic, flexible, provides greater reach and allows students to be self-taught. The digital education market is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025 , according to ResearchAndMarkets.

In order to respond adequately to the needs of education, thematic courses are required on demand, accessible outside of a formal education program, at any time, with augmented reality, gamification, chat groups, online meetings and other  technologies , tools   and methodologies that go beyond replicating a physical class-conference on video. Education should be like everything else in young people’s lives, an on-demand service , concluded the World Economic Forum’s Leaders with Vision, Annual Meeting of the Champions.

The United States and China are the leaders in the global online education market.

The on-demand industry has three components: providers, technology companies, and consumers. Technology acts as an intermediary between consumers and providers, the conditions are ripe to make tailor-made developments at the service of sectors that seem to benefit from the crisis such as food, medical services and telemedicine, messaging, entertainment and education .

2 on-demand services to keep track of them

Volvo  On-demand digital vehicle reservation for short journeys or months with availability of 500 km per day and 24-hour roadside assistance.

On-demand  Moovit by Intel,  less than 15 days ago, the technology giant Intel bought Moovit for 900 million dollars, a move in times of uncertainty with a clear focus: bet on the autonomous or robotic driving business using the databases Moovit data that provides information on public transport and will now allow booking and access to autonomous transport such as metro feeder routes, trams and interconnected bus systems.


A new sustainability agenda in four ideas

A pandemic like COVID-19 creates a series of risks for which companies were not prepared. With cooperation, solidarity and a vision for the future, it will be possible to overcome them. We spoke with Juan Luis Botero, General Manager of Contreebute.

Let’s offer the best of ourselves

The United Nations 2030 agenda is under threat, business and sustainability will need to strike a balance between the short and long term, and stakeholders will be more relevant and need to be heard. Because? Click on the video.


Together we can get ahead

The pandemic is a global issue, a common enemy, to which we must all contribute to resolve through local actions, but without borders. Likewise, we must review habits and identify new risks. Get to know some of them. Look at the video.


We can transform business models

We are exposed to a large amount of information. It is important to strike a balance between the positive and the negative, as well as look for strength in the creativity and values ​​of the companies to communicate better, reinvent from the service to the portfolios and make alliances that seek the common good. These are some examples.


We are vulnerable and resilient

Companies must bet on a radical transparency in telling the actions they are carrying out, how the crisis has affected them and how they will overcome it. It’s time to be more resilient than ever. What to do from marketing in times of crisis? More information in the video.