Investing in Dividends Paying Companies – A Complete Guide to What You Need to Start

Listed below are the main things you need to know and prepare to start investing in the stock market for dividend income to achieve financial freedom.

1. Money

You need money to invest in stocks. The question of how much investment you will put on the stock market largely depends on you and your savings as well. You don’t have to put all your money into the venture. Be reminded that although stock investing is profitable. Before deciding how much money you can invest, you need to do some calculations.

Prior to investing, it’s best to make sure your finances are secure. Though, there are great opportunities to profit through investing for dividend income, the stock market may not be suitable for you. If you have too many monthly bills or too much debt, you must wait before you start to invest in the stock market. As the market will always move up and down, it is better to pay down your debt, especially credit card debts. Once you have a positive monthly cash flow and six to twelve months emergency funds, you can to invest your money in the dividend paying stocks. You will be on your financial freedom.

To calculate cash available for investing

1.1. List all of your liquid (cash-like) assets: cash deposits in bank accounts, stocks, bonds, etc.

1.2. Add your monthly income including interest (average one year’s by dividing the amount by twelve) you will receive over the year the year.

1.3. Add your monthly cash outflows; this includes monthly expenses and any loan repayments you need to make. Average your yearly payments such as insurance and children’s’ school fees (if any) by dividing this amount by twelve.

1.4. Take step 2 and deduct step 3. If you have a negative cash flow, then you will to make a budget to control your cash out flow and strictly follow this to save money for investments. If the amount is positive, then you are ready to start investing. Remember, you must save some amount for emergency expenses.
Congratulations, you are ready to start in dividend paying companies to achieve financial freedom.

2. Investment Goals

After you have saved money for emergency funds, must set a target you want to achieve from your investments. This target will be achieved through income from dividends and reinvesting the dividends. You must have a long term perspective for your portfolio. Long term is at least 3 years or longer. Why 3 years or longer? Because, only in the long run will the dividend compound enough to make sense for long term investing. Also, if the company keeps in paying dividend and increasing the dividend amount over time, then capital gain is very likely.

3. Investment strategy

As investing in dividend paying companies is the easiest strategy, you must develop a plan on how to invest for dividends. Remember that market ups and downs can cause you to doubt your strategy. You must be confident of your strategy and continue investing. You must have researched your choice of companies to invest stocks. You must have a strategy on when to buy and sell.

4. Researching the Right Companies for Dividend Income

You’ll need to focus on investing in companies which pay dividends consistently. Look for companies which have consistently performed well over the past several years. Of importance are companies who did not cut dividends, even better if they increased dividends during the economic downturn. These companies have long-term potential to help you achieve financial freedom through income from dividends. Of more importance is whether these companies can continue their fantastic performance, is their business model long lasting? You must also check if the management is investing more into their own company. If they are, then these are a sign that the management is behaving like owners and are sure of the long term prospects of the company. If management is sure of the company, then you dividends are likely to continue for a long time. Long term dividends leads to financial freedom and you do not to keep buying and selling stocks.

5. Diversification

Diversifying your investments is extremely important. You can diversify your investment in many different types of assets, such as real estate for rent, dividend income investing and bonds to name a few. The easiest investment is in dividend paying companies in the stock market as the market is very liquid and information is easily available for you to analyze. Even while investing in dividend paying companies you must diversify your portfolio. This helps to protect your capital.

6. What’s your risk tolerance level?

You must understand your. You must know your risk tolerance level. Investing has many upturns and downturn. If you lose sleep after investing any money, then your risk tolerance is very low. That is exactly the reason you must invest in dividend paying companies as dividends help you to earn income during upturns and downturns of the market. You will be able to sleep well.

7. Educate yourself

It is extremely important you educate yourself regarding investing in dividend paying companies. You can take seminars or read books by various gurus to learn from the masters or invest in online courses. You must also read business newspapers and magazines regularly. Educating yourself will help you believe in the choices you make and this will lead you to make investment decisions. Once you are educated you do not have listen to others. You will achieve financial freedom on your own.

8. Broker

A stock broker is required to help you buy and sell stocks. Choose a broker wisely so that you can maximize your investing profits. Different brokers have different charges for helping you to buy and sell stocks on the exchange. There are full service brokers who for those who need more details before investing. Discount brokers charge cheaper rates; however, they do not give any advice. After you learn how to invest and are confident in choosing the right dividend paying companies, the wiser choice will be to use discount brokers enabling you to save money, thereby giving more money to invest for your financial freedom.

In conclusion, investing for dividends is a long term process. Getting dividends and reinvesting dividends will make you financially free. Instant wealth is not part of this process. Any person who has got instant wealth will normally lose the wealth as they do not know what to do with the wealth. Very few people become multi millionaires from the stock market, if it was easy very body in this world would be a multimillionaire. The idea of investing the stock market for income from dividends is to become financially free so you can live the life you desire.

Technology For Your Small Business Toolbox

Technology is evolving quickly with new gadgets, gizmos, and what-nots coming out everyday. It can be a little overwhelming for small and home based business owners trying to figure out if they need it, want it, can use it, should have it, will help them. The most important factor in making a decision about integrating technology into your business, and life, is whether or not it is going to help you. Period. You have to ask yourself, “Is this thing going to help me be more efficient? Will it help me to better serve my customers?” Technology is essentially a tool, like a shovel or hammer. These things should help you do things easier, better and more efficiently. With that in mind, here are a few technologies that you should consider for your toolbox.

Contact Management

Regardless of the fact that much of our daily business is now done online, through email, virtual fax, and over the phone, and possibly because of this, it is more important than ever to maintain good relationships with your customers. The relationships you build with your customers are what will keep them coming back to you. If you have any sort of customer base you may think there is no way you could possibly build a meaningful relationship with all of them. This is where a contact manager comes in. There are a lot of different contact manager programs to choose from. Regardless of which one you choose, it is going to help you keep track of all of your customers. It will help you quickly recall important information about each person, keep track of communications you have had with them, and easily find the people that you have not contacted recently. A contact manager is also going to help you stay on top of your deadlines and remind you of appointments, conference calls or any other time sensitive details in your life. So now ask yourself, “Will a contact manager make me more efficient and help me to better serve my customers?”

Automated Communications

A common complaint among consumers is that once they do business with a company, they never hear from them again. So how do you make sure to stay in contact with all of your customers? One way is with auto responders. An auto responder is going to allow you to schedule regular emails to go out to your customers at pre-determined times. The subject of the emails will vary depending on your specific business. It may be just a note checking in to make sure everything is working out well with the product or service they purchased. Or, perhaps it introduces an additional product or service that might be of interest of them. Maybe some tips about how to get the most out of the product or service that they bought from you. Another automated way to communicate with your customers is a newsletter. Write one newsletter and you keep in touch with all of your customers at once. There are a number of newsletter software and templates out there. Some are free while others charge per number of subscribers. Your newsletter can be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or even quarterly. The important thing to remember with a newsletter is that the information needs to be relevant to your customers. It should not be about you and your company so much as it should be about your customers. Figure out what they need or want to know and give it to them. So now is the time when you ask yourself, “Will auto responders and newsletters make me more efficient and help me to better serve my customers?”

Advanced Telecommunications

In this day and age there is no reason that any business should be using a local number with a standard voice mailbox attached to it for their telephone line. There are options available now that can unify our many sources of communications while giving small and home based businesses a boost to their image at the same time. Take a virtual PBX for example. A virtual PBX is basically the same kind of phone system that a large Fortune 500 company would use, without all the hardware, software, maintenance and expense. Technology has made it possible for small and home based businesses to have a toll free number, automated attendant that answers each call, multiple voice mailboxes, have their calls forwarded to them on any land line they like and have all their voice and fax messages be delivered to one place, be it to an email address or an online web interface. A virtual PBX can accomplish a number of things for a small or home based business owner. One, it unifies their communications with just one number for both voice and fax. Two, it allows business owners to have one place to check messages whether they are voice, fax or email. Three, it helps business owners stay connected with their customers. Four, it helps the business to establish itself in the eyes of their customers as being an efficient, organized and professional company. So now, ask yourself, “Will a virtual PBX make me more efficient and help me to better serve my customers?”

It can be difficult to not get overwhelmed by all the technologies being marketed to small and home based business owners today. Not every one will be right for your business. Look at each technology individually and evaluate whether it is something that will increase your efficiency and enhance your ability to help your customers before deciding if you should add to your toolbox.

Commercialisation Of Technology Key Issues To Remember

1) Universities or other private and public institutions regularly undertake research on various areas. Very often the research has as its ultimate goal commercialization, profit-making and winning competition. Research may be commercialised in two ways: (i) New companies are created which are provided with access to the intellectual property rights (IPR), facilities or assets of one party; (ii) Technology may be made available to existing companies. Typically, this would involve the commercial licensing of research work directly to industry, for example, to large pharmaceutical or medical companies.

2) For a collaboration to take place there needs to be an agreement between the parties in place clearly setting out the contributions of each party and of course the rewards should the technology be proved successful. This is achieved by entering into a Technology Transfer Agreement, which addresses the following:

1. Nature of the IPR involved/transferred
Define exactly what rights are to be transferred.

2. Method of the transfer
The next most fundamental issue to be resolved is the method by which the IPR will be transferred from one or more parties, that is, by assignment or licence.

a. Assignment
An outright assignment gives the assignee greater freedom in relation to the technology, since in a typical assignment, there are few, if any, controls placed on the assignee by the assignor. In the event of insolvency, the assignee has an asset that can be sold to create value for the shareholders. Of course, if the assignee has become insolvent it may be because there is no market for the product. However, if the product has failed for other reasons, such as lack of marketing support, lack of follow-on funding, or issues affecting customers a willing buyer may exist for the technology. The practical benefit is that it should be easier (or cheaper) to raise funds if the assignee has some form of assets. Investors usually prefer to invest in a company which owns and has freedom to use all of its assets. If an outright assignment is not possible, this can also be achieved with an exclusive licence.

b. Licences
A licence gives the parties a greater feeling of control and also an ability to participate in any successful commercialisation of the technology through royalty streams, as well as being able to participate in any growth of the spin-out business as a shareholder. A licence also ensures greater flexibility for the party; it may be possible to provide that the licence terminates if certain conditions are fulfilled (for example, if the licensee fails to exploit or to exploit successfully the transferred technology). The licensor then has the option to take back the licence and perhaps proceed with a new licensee.

A compromise worth considering is a licence with an assignment trigger built in. The trigger can be linked to the value of the licensee, the return to the licensor(s), or to some other factor. In this way the licensor(s) are protected at a time when the spin-out is most vulnerable and, from the licensee’s point of view, should it succeed, it is very likely that it will end up owning the technology outright.

In other scenarios, the licensee can be expected to agree to certain performance criteria. These will often be linked to the number of sales or revenue generated from sales or other commercial exploitation of the licensed technology. Failure to meet the criteria will see the licence come to an end or for the licence to become non-exclusive instead.

3. Consideration
The consideration for the transfer of technology can be made up of equity, up-front payments, royalties, or a mixture of all three. This tends to be an area which is most heavily influenced by policies adopted from time to time by the various parties to the agreement. Other factors may affect the value, for example, where one or more of the contributors to the technology was not an employee, but for example, a post-graduate student or consultant. In fact, a post-graduate student will generally fall outside the definition of “employee” under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and so the IPR may not belong to the university.

4. Other rights and obligations
Whatever the nature of the IPR transfer, the parties need to agree what continuing rights (if any) the parties will have to use the IPR. If a party is a university it is generally agreed that the university can continue to carry out non-commercial research and teaching using the transferred technology. However, it is worth investigating whether there are existing research projects, such as PhD theses, which need to be completed. If so, specific rights should be carved out of the transfer agreement as necessary to ensure that these projects can be completed. Also it is important to have a clear agreement as to which party will bear and be responsible for: (i) any prosecution and other protection of the transferred rights costs (for example prosecution of patent applications so that they become patents granted!) and (ii) any regulatory licences and approvals.

5. IPR Infringements
The key question to be addressed is which party will have primary responsibility for dealing with any IPR infringement of the transferred technology. It is important for the spin-out company/licensee to ensure that it has the appropriate rights to take action against a third party which is infringing the transferred technology in some way.

Important Before Starting Investing in the Financial Sector

Each person would not want to lose in investing and of course everyone else will want a profit, but many people do not know how in order to profit by minimizing losses, therefore you need to consider the following tips.

Savings in the Bank or deposit at this time is not advantageous because interest rates are “single digits” cannot keep inflation well above average. In other words, our money is increasingly shrinking in value and its value is smaller. For that many people begin to look to the path started in the real sector investment (purchase of land, property, business, etc.) and financial sector (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) so the money can be fully utilized.

Perhaps you know that investing in the financial sector today is more practical and does not require substantial capital when compared to the real sector. Also sometimes investing in the financial sector is much more profitable, especially if managed well by you, the Fund Manager and investment company. Therefore many people have started to glance at the investment in this sector, but investment in the financial sector itself contains a higher risk than investment in real sector. If you are someone who relied on the principle of “No Risk No Gain” and the spirit of an investor who wants to exploit all the opportunities that exist, then you should read this article further, if not ignore it.

To invest in financial management are many things to know and learn first, especially for a beginner (newbie) in order to avoid the losses and profits enjoyed success in the future. So the point is a beginner should be a lot to know and a lot to learn, therefore we present important tips for beginners in investing in the financial field as an initial guide:

1. Identify the risks

Before you invest you need to know in advance what risks you will face. If we talk so bitter that you are facing the worst risks of an investment is to lose all your investment money and you should be ready about it if you want to invest unless you are investing in instruments that are either guaranteed by a bank guarantee, insurance, government or other entities that have authority for it. Many marketing investment or people with the promotion of an investment (marketer) will not tell this to you when it invites you to invest as it is a taboo for a marketer and you will definitely not be afraid and investments are offered to follow them when already know this. Usually the benchmark risk is the profit given by the company that made the guidelines, the greater the profit given the higher risk (High Profit High Risk).

2. Know your company’s investment

It’s one of the most important things if you want to invest safely and peacefully. You certainly want your money and in culturing the night you can sleep in peace without a headache thinking about your money is safe or not. For that you should first find out whether an investment company that you believe it is safe or not. How is their service to you, your question is answered or not when you call, easy or not to contact the investment company. Business license and registration are also sometimes important to know. Where the company can determine whether or not bona fide companies. Indeed, many investment companies that are not clear and some even have a fake license. If you want to invest a lot of money in an investment company, you really should check the condition and status of the company concerned.

Business Startups – Use of Technology in Business

Technology today is used in business everywhere, easily bringing the world and all of its knowledge to seekers as fast as the click of a mouse. Information can be simple acquired virtually trouble-free through the use of computers, televisions, mobile phones, fax machines, printers, digital cameras and other accessible devices. Over the years technology has become very user-friendly, simple Jane and average Joe can quickly learn how to manipulate modernized technology.

The use of computers can sustain a large paper load, its function and data base keeps track of every role in a company to include:

  • Meetings and Scheduling
  • Financing
  • Banking
  • Transaction
  • Translation
  • Stocks
  • Business Monitoring
  • Ordering
  • Spread sheets
  • Inventory Records
  • Communication
  • Promotion and Marketing
  • Networking and Relaying Information
  • Advertising
  • Collaborations
  • Calculation
  • Integration
  • Analysis
  • Business News
  • Research

Computers come equipped with the use of several management programs that can make business to-dos possible such as keeping a record of and calculating employee hours and salary. Computers possess large folders that catalogue dates and events with great capability of storing, sending, copying, collecting and saving detrimental Intel for your company. Computer software technology allows company owners and managers to oversee a broad range of strategic functions that directly influence business-related results.

Technological advances have simplified every task involved in business merging many resources to one location that satisfies the user. Replacing the typewriter, books, letters, envelopes, the post, the rolodex and address book. Instead of lengthy processes that cost time and money like mailing a letter, individuals can now receive immediate response via e-mail. Development, management and design are all functions pre-delivered in a business PC. Other benefits of using this convenient form of technology include:

  • Controlled and supervised access within your company for staff
  • Security clearance levels with password(s)
  • Increased productivity
  • Quick relay of information
  • Distribute(s) business initiative(s)
  • Capitalizes on secure investments
  • Assists in scheme development
  • Job tracking
  • Planning and logging

Technology gives owner/operators ample opportunity at their convenience to investigate the competition and ensure that they possess the products consumers’ desire. In comparison to decades ago, modernized technology is responsible for the enhanced improved performances a company has to offer its clientele.

  • Businesses run smoother.
  • Operate with maximum advantages.
  • Make better use of time and money.

The use of workplace technology has rapidly matured over the years. If the technology is sophisticated or more complex employers should offer training. If workplace technology is the main involvement of the company, employers should consider staff that is familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel, word processing, spreadsheets, the internet and e-mail. Also reflect on attaining an accounting software program suitable and easy to work with for the company. More innovations to consider include:

  1. The use of headsets, cell or cordless phones for mobility.
  2. Laptops and other mobile, removable technology for accessibility.
  3. Voice mail also for accessibility anywhere in the office or at home.
  4. The use of extensions.
  5. Separate phone lines for calls and fax for efficiency.
  6. Digital know how for marketing purposes.

Computers and technology enable businesses to function more effectively, run efficiently, respond to the public quickly, manage time, money, expenses, debt, credit, capital, investments etc. Companies experience password protected secured programming, expand operation(s), test pilot programs, prepare for company growth etc. It is now possible to keep and send records with the ability to reduce waist and reserve spending.

The Impact of Technology on Business Environment and Society!

The tremendous technological growth that we have been experiencing is made possible through extensive programmes of technological research being conducted by many types of researchers working within universities, business, and non-profit research organizations. Technological developments are strong and all pervasive forces of the business environment. Technology is the scientific knowledge to practical problems.

Technology feeds on itself and it affects business in two major ways:

  1. Through its impact on society in general
  2. Through its direct influence on business operations and activities.

Technology affects society. In fact, we feel its effect on our everyday life. It affects economic growth, our standard of living and our culture. However, some of the effects of technology are highly beneficial and some detrimental. One should be careful that these effects on members of the society in turn affect business practices.

Technology affects our everyday life. We are surrounded by so much of technology, that we take it for granted and usually do not realize how much it affects us until we have to do without electricity, water, transport or telephone. Technological developments have raised the standard of living. In spite of inflationary pressure and considerably a high degree of unemployment, generally families eat better, wear a wider variety of clothing, and live in more comfortable homes.

Technology also influences basic aspects of our culture, including religion, education, mobility, health care, art, language, laws and their enforcement. For example, technological advances in health care allow physicians to treat their patients in a virtual environment through video conferencing, which again is helpful in legal environment too for the judges to proceed with investigations on hard core criminals, who need not be produced before the court for security reasons.

Every new technology is a force involved in creative destruction. Say, television hurts movies, synthetic fibres, rival for cotton fibre. The discovery of new technology even sometimes affects economic growth-TV with its high entertainment value takes away productive hours of mankind. Each new technology creates major long term consequences, that are not always foreseeable. How do you justify nations spending more money to develop missiles, nuclear weapons and bombs for the sake of security?

Developing nations have to buy technology from foreign countries, as they are not resourceful in terms of capital needed for Research and Development, expertise, patents, licenses, equipments and so on. This transfer of technology involves huge costs as a result of which a vicious circle is formed, in which weak technology creates dependence and dependence creates weakness.

The recent trend can be enumerated through this slogan, “Conserve, reduce and recycle”. The stress today is on clean production measures, advanced robotics, zero-emition vehicles, material recycling and alternative fuels and materials. This change towards love for environment by the technologists is a sure sign of positive development.

Gold Investments – Some of the Hottest Alternative Investment Opportunities Today

Gold investments are among the best alternative investments currently available, especially in the context of the economic insecurity that still affects many world economies.

Why It’s Worth Investing in Gold

Gold is seen as a great investment whenever there is the threat of a raising inflation, as it helps people convert volatile assets into a precious metal that will continue to be valuable regardless of what befalls the economy.

But gold also makes for a possibly good investment for those who seek to get a nice return on their investments. Short term investments in gold, however, do not tend to be as rewarding as other investments, since the price of gold is somewhat more stable than that of say silver, which rises and falls more often and more significantly.

But when it comes to long-term alternative investments, gold is considered by many to be unrivaled. That’s because gold has been since time immemorial prized for its beauty and value, and will continue to be so for years to come regardless of what happens with the financial markets.

Unless an unimaginably vast deposit of gold is found soon – which is unlikely, considering that right known gold deposits are actually dwindling – gold will continue to retain its high value, which makes the precious metal ideal for an alternative investment.

Gold is venerated and desired and these contribute to making it one of the most secure things to invest it. And besides, when you invest in gold you can actually own the material, which may give you a pleasure than not all the money in the world can buy.

Gold’s Rivals: Silver and Platinum

Gold clearly dominates the other precious metals. Silver is more volatile and much less valuable, its market being much smaller than that of gold. This makes silver investments potentially good for quick gains, but ultimately unreliable for long-term serious investments. And besides, silver takes more storage space than gold.

Platinum, on the other hand, is more valuable, but also more difficult to handle. Investments in platinum are infamous for their high risk, and only few experts really carry them out. What’s more, unlike gold, platinum is hard to convert into cash.

How to Invest

Gold investments can be some of the most rewarding alternative investments, especially when they are significant. But even investing in small quantities of gold can be rewarding.

You can invest in gold by buying bullion or coins. Alternatively, you can buy stock in gold mining or gold producing companies, as well as gold futures contracts. Some say though that the best gold investments are those in which you buy and own the precious metal yourself.

Investing in gold is definitely one of the hottest alternative investment opportunities today. But to invest successfully you need to compare investment opportunities and to go with the one your calculations point you to.

Maximizing Business Potentials While Lessening Communication Expenses

Today, economically worthwhile solutions directly mediated with business drawbacks concerning minimized potentials and escalating expenditures of operation. Thousands of associates in businesses are internationally situated, and worldwide transactions have not been simple as it was hampered by high travel expense outlays. This business development has been made possible through conference calls – a modern platform of conducting meetings, trainings, and assemblies for business intentions without the need for physical encounters.

Problems in communication rarely arise in the past because businesses were simply counting on e-mail and paper-based messages for communication. With comprehension level at its minimum, lifeless memos devoid of tone variations and sound intricacies are most likely to cause and forestall to misinterpretation. This problem has affected some businesses greatly, vindicating the necessity to use modern solutions that work for the advantage of any business.

Technology takes shrewd corporations and organizations at the prime position of markets dealing with international scopes. Businesses may fund or invest in pursuits that foster simpler communication. This steadfast resource makes businesses attempt to deal with larger spans worthwhile. The then assemblies and meetings done in the borders of the conference room have advanced its way to virtual space where a certain software and a fast net connection are the only prerequisites.

Business partners can now practically communicate through teleconference calls organized and intended for both local and international participation. Numerous international businesses have engaged in regular conference calling with the purpose of keeping clients and workers in frequent communication. Literal distances around the world, being an effort to be surmounted has been dealt with properly by this modern method in communication that is highly efficient.

Charges in conference calling services has evidently decreased as more telecommunication groups provide varying choices. In the passage of time, international call conferencing outlays have plunged dramatically, but these calls will definitely not come for free. Business resources must apportion a fraction of its operation expenses to the organization and maintenance of international conference calls. As members may hail from varied countries, costs for international call conferencing may change. The accrued total of these entire individual charges are taken care of by the conference host who is mostly the administrator or the business’s supervisor. Evaluating the per-minute-charge of international conference calls for a corresponding conference permits businesses to apportion budget correctly and as well serve as a prompt for conference holders to keep to the agenda; in this way, businesses do not use more than what is budgeted for.

A Comparative Analysis of Smart Home Automation Technologies in the UAE

The Smart Home Automation industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been growing at a rapid pace since its dawn over the last several years. The market is becoming more and more aware of the capabilities of having a complete automation system whether at the scale of individual residences, palaces, real estate developments, and hotels. Many developments in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already been completed with a pre-installed automation system. Many developments in areas like Victory Heights, Arabian Ranches, Sports City, and Reem Island have also been built with infrastructure to support such technologies in the future.

In basic form, automation includes systems that control Lighting, Appliances, HVAC, Curtains and Multimedia. The market in the UAE has not only begun to realize the benefits in terms of comfort, security, and luxury. But also in terms of energy saving and increasing property value, thus all these realizations will continue to lead to a booming market in the UAE.

As automation is somewhat of a new technology in the mainstream market, one must be aware of the countless number of underlying technologies that connect and allow for the communication between a user and the Light Dimming Systems or Air Conditioning Systems. On the surface, these technologies may seem to lead to the same functionality, but in the back-end, they are different in potentially catastrophic ways. This leads us to the reason why we started composing this article, that is, to shed light onto the pros and cons of the different technologies (regardless of product or vendor) which are available in the UAE market today.

Any automation system is composed of 2 high-level components, the controller, and the modules. The modules include light dimmers, relay switches, thermostats, motorized curtain control systems, distributed speakers..etc. which are to be controlled by the home owner. The controller, is the heart of the system from which signals are sent to “Dim the lights” or “turn on the air conditioning”. The method of communication between the controller and the modules are the Automation Communication Technology which we wish to address in this article. The method of communication can either be through wires or wireless and are usually in line with certain protocols or standards of communication. This article will explore and compare KNX, X10, Zigbee, En-Ocean, and Z-wave.

The criteria for comparison which we will explore are the following:

  1. Reliability of Communication: How reliable is the communication between the Controller and the Modules? When a message is sent to a module, the system must ensure the message’s arrival and confirmation of receipt. Scoring well in this criteria is very important to ensure that even under circumstances of wired or wireless interference messages are resent until confirmed by the receiving module. Not all protocols comply with this requirement.
  2. Security of Communication: The protocol must guarantee that a 3rd party cannot infiltrate an existing system and operate it with unauthorized access. The results of a hacker entering a parking lot of a hotel and turning all its lights off is disastrous.
  3. Price
  4. Features and Capabilities: It is important that automation technologies go beyond just controlling individual modules and have the capability to integrate with other systems most typically entertainment since that is an area of high usage of any home owner. Example: Easy Integration with Multi-room Music Systems, Multi-room multimedia distribution systems (Movies, Videos, Pictures, Music)…etc.
  5. Investment Protection: It is important to make sure that installed Controller or Modules can be easily replaced in the future. Consider having installed a system that has some components fail after 5 years, and at the same time, the company which installed it became bankrupt. The home owner would be left with no choice but to completely revamp the entire electrical system in the residence which would cost more in time, labor, and equipment that what was originally paid for the automation system. Having a system that is standardized means that any other company can support it or replace certain parts with different products, maybe from different vendors, in order to ensure continued operation.
  6. Interoperability: This criteria refers to the capability of the Controller to speak to multiple Modules from different manufacturers. This will ensure that a system is made up with Lighting, HVAC, Curtains, Appliances, and Multimedia Control Modules are purchased from different manufacturers which are the best or most specialized in those fields. This ensures that a system has the best-in class Modules for each particular purpose. It is not logical that the best manufacturer of light dimmers is also the best manufacturer of curtain control systems, or audio systems. Some communication protocols are closed or proprietary, thus forcing the customer to purchase everything from a single manufacturer. This criteria also overlaps with the Investment Protection Criteria since having an interoperable system will give future flexibility to easily replace Modules even if the company which installed them has closed down.

The remainder of this document will address each communication technology based on the above criteria.

KNX

KNX is an international standard of communication typically installed in wired twisted pair environments. KNX was designed in 1990 and was made as a very robust protocol to be used in industrial automation applications. The protocols reliability cannot be questioned since it implements many OSI communication layers and is quite complex. KNX is also controlled by the KNX association and any company usually spends thousands of dirhams on their employees to go through training in order to understand the inner workings of the system. KNX is a complex protocol by nature, and was designed long before the “smart home” concept was born, thus the hardware that has the capability to support the complexity of KNX is expensive not only to engineer, but also to manufacture and thus the hopes for this technology to become cheaper than its current alternatives is futile.

KNX has and is a popular choice for hotels since 2006 and has been deployed in many developments such as the Shangri-la in Dubai, Rotana Hotels in the Marina, Fairmont, Movenpick to name a few. KNX is also being specified by many real estate consultants for major developments in the Abu Dhabi Reem Island and Yas Island.

  1. Reliability of Communication: Yes
  2. Security of Communication: Yes
  3. Price: No
  4. Features and Capabilities: No. KNX has been more focused at the simple facility of automation and typically fits in hotel environments where customization and multimedia integration is not required.
  5. Investment Protection: Yes
  6. Interoperability: Yes

X10

X10 is an international open standard developed in 1975 by Pico Electronics of Scotland, in order to allow remote control of home devices and appliances. It primarily uses the 220Vpower line wiring for sending messages between the Controller and the Modules (Lighting, HVAC…etc).

X10 has only receyved some popularity many years ago when automation technology started being introduced in the UAE. And was typically installed in small villa project then was slowly discontinued due to its reliability issues.

  1. Reliability of Communication: No. Since it is prone to interference from multiple sources like transformers, motors typically found in TVs, washing machines, fans…etc. Also, messages from Controller to Modules are never acknowledged so there is no 2-way communication.
  2. Security of Communication: No. If a 3rd party can tap into the powerline of a house, messages can easily be sent to control whatever the 3rd party wishes.
  3. Price: Yes
  4. Features and Capabilities: Yes. This technology can easily be integrated into PC based systems and many options are available to provide feature rich capabilities for residential applications.
  5. Investment Protection: Yes
  6. Interoperability: Yes

Zigbee

ZigBee is an open wireless network communication protocol based on the IEEE specification IEEE 802.15.4, which enables the Controller to communicate with its Modules via Radio Frequency. The standard is a development of the ZigBee Alliance, which was founded in the end of 2002. It is an industry alliance of more than 230 enterprises who take up the worldwide development of this technology. The first ZigBee products came on the market in the beginning of 2005. Because Zigbee standardises only the lower protocol layers (radio layer), the different manufacturers have defined their own higher software layers. As a result ZigBee devices of different manufacturers are not compatible with each other.

  1. Reliability of Communication: Yes. A wireless mesh network is created and ensures multiple path routing to every module which translates to long reach, and high reliability in case of interference or even in case of in-path device failure.
  2. Security of Communication: No. Zigbee uses weak hashing algorithms and has been researched to be penetrable. Penetration is not easy but software tools such as “Killerbee” exist and can allow any person with little Linux and scripting experience to hack into an existing Zigbee network.
  3. Price: No
  4. Features and Capabilities: Yes
  5. Investment Protection: Yes
  6. Interoperability: No

En-Ocean

EnOcean is a wireless radio frequency based, energy harvesting technology used primarily in building automation systems. It is not set out for international, European or national standardization; however, EnOcean GmbH is offering its technology and licenses for the patented features under license within the EnOcean Alliance framework. The concept was developed to enable batteryless sensors and switches for building automation. Which is questionable in terms of energy saving because existing alternatives can consume as little as 500W per 60 storey tower in automation devices.

EnOcean based technologies have been installed in some big projects such as the Abu Dhabi Central Market, the Dubai Financial Center…etc.

  1. Reliability of Communication: No, En-Ocean does not offer 2-way communication between the Controller and its Modules. Also the Controller is at a star network with the Modules and there is no wireless meshing, this one-to-one signal mapping can drastically fail in times of high interference.
  2. Security of Communication: Yes
  3. Price: No, En-Ocean prices are more aligned with KNX.
  4. Features and Capabilities: No. Supported but not yet seen in the market.
  5. Investment Protection: Yes
  6. Interoperability: Yes

Z-wave

Among all the above protocols, Z-wave ranks the best so far. The strength of Z-wave lies in the big number of different products from different manufacturers as well as the very robust, 2-way, meshed, and secured wireless communication. Z-wave chips also consume a 10mW at peak and are low cost compared to all other alternatives. Why? because Z-wave has been originally designed for residential applications.

Z-wave is viewed as the next generation of Smart Home Technology and product lines have started to emerge from big players such as Honeywell and Schneider Electric. This technology is not only feature full, reliable and secure, but will be offered at competitive prices and investment protection for projects of any size starting with individual villas all the way to large real estate towers. As of today, Z-wave has been deployed in many villas in the UAE at an individual scale. Z-wave is also starting to make its way through many of the large tenders for developments throughout the Emirates.

  1. Reliability of Communication: Yes
  2. Security of Communication: Yes
  3. Price: Yes
  4. Features and Capabilities: Yes
  5. Investment Protection: Yes
  6. Interoperability: Yes

The Seven Best Ways on How to Get Real Estate Investing Deals

If you are new to real estate investing, you are probably wondering “where am I going to find my first real estate deal”? There are actually a number of very effective methods you can use. Below I will touch on 7 different and valuable methods to find real estate investing deals. They are a pre-foreclosure listing service, major newspapers, post cards & fliers, bandit signs, MLS, a realtor, and a wholesaler.

Method one for real estate investing is to purchase a list of pre-foreclosure homes from a listing service. Here are just four such services: Foreclosure.com, RealtyTrac, Default Research, and  However, one of the drawbacks to a listing service is the cost. Also, be aware that some services have more recent information than others.

Another method to get a real estate investing deal would be to look into the classified ads section of major Newspapers. Their classified sections are on the web. You want to search the ads to find words such as “divorce”, “desperate”, “must sell” or “estate sale” to name just a few examples of keywords that indicate the seller is desperate. Think of some on your own and have fun with it.

Another method would be to send Postcards and fliers to targeted homes. However, it is highly advisable that you find someone who can do what is called good copywriting. Good copywriting is combining words, fonts, phrases, pictures, a call-to-action, etc. that will compel your potential home buyers to call your number. Make sure you do this type of marketing correctly, otherwise you will be wasting your hard earned money.

Method number four for is the use of bandit signs. A bandit sign is a small sign that is posted near major streets with a simple phrase to let home owners know that you buy houses quickly. Don’t forget to have your phone number listed in large letters, so distressed owners know who to call. Just be aware that in many places bandit signs are not allowed.

Another method that is more obvious is to look for a real estate investing deal is the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), however, you must be a licensed real estate agent in order to gain access to the MLS database. A word about the MLS, I know some real estate investors who swear by it and I know others who say it’s not worth your time. Who’s correct? Well, believe it or not, both are right. If you are a licensed agent who can jump on a property that is a good deal when it is put on MLS, you have a good chance to finds deals, otherwise, it will be more difficult.

Method six is to enlist the help of a realtor. If you don’t know anyone who is a realtor, you can find those who work with real estate investors, just by going to realtor.com. You will need to find a realtor who is willing to work with you and to email you a listing with your criteria. What sort of criteria do you use to search for a property? Again look for words like “divorce”, “desperate”, “must sell”, “condemned”, “gutted”, “mold” and any other word that would be undesirable for regular buyers, but a potential deal for a real estate investor.

Finally, there is another method that is simple, yet very effective. Get your deal through what is called a wholesaler. A wholesaler is one who controls or purchases a property at a deep discount and passes the savings on to you, the real estate investor. They typically send the deal right to your email box where you can read about the deal, do your due diligence and then make an offer.

So, as you can see there are various methods that you can use to find your deals. You may be wondering, for effective real estate investing, how may deals does it take before an offer is accepted? Well, I know many who say there is a 100-10-1 rule. It says it takes looking at 100 deals to make 10 offers to get one accepted. Choose a method or better yet, a set of methods that works for you and your budget and your real estate investing.