Thermally triggered electronic devices will self-destruct on demand


A device is remotely triggered to self-destruct. A radio-frequency signal turns on a heating element at the center of the device. The circuits dissolve completely. Credit: Scott White, University of Illinois.

A device is remotely triggered to self-destruct. A radio-frequency signal turns on a heating element at the center of the device. The circuits dissolve completely. Credit: Scott White, University of Illinois.

Where do electronics go when they die? Most devices are laid to eternal rest in landfills. But what if they just dissolved away, or broke down to their molecular components so that the material could be recycled?

Expanding on previous research into electronic devices that dissolve in water once they have reached the end of their useful life, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new type of “transient” electronic device that self-destructs in response to heat exposure. The work is aimed at making it easy for materials from devices that usually end up in landfill to be recycled or dissolved completely.

Using heat as a trigger has now enabled the creation of electronic devices that can be prompted to self-destruct on demand.

The technology involves first printing magnesium circuits on thin, flexible materials. Microscopic droplets of a weak acid are then trapped in wax, which is coated onto the devices. When exposed to heat, the wax melts and releases the acid, which completely dissolves the device. The researchers were also able to create devices that can be remotely triggered to self-destruct by embedding a radio-frequency receiver and inductive heating coil. In response to a radio signal, the coil heats up and melts the wax, leading to the destruction of the device.

Similar to the devices that dissolve in water, the time it takes for the heat-triggered devices to dissolve can be controlled by tuning the thickness of the wax, the concentration of the acid, and the temperature. The researchers say it is possible to create a device that dissolves in as little as 20 seconds or up to a couple of minutes after the heat is applied.

Additionally, by encasing different parts in waxes with different melting temperatures, it is possible to create devices that degrade in a series of predefined steps. This gives control over which parts of the device are operative at what time, thereby providing the potential for devices that can sense and respond to conditions in their environment. The team is also exploring the potential for other triggers, such as ultraviolet light and mechanical stress.

 

The researchers, led by aerospace engineering professor Scott R. White, published their work in the journal Advanced Material.

Explore Further:

http://phys.org/news/2015-05-mission-device-self-destruct.html?utm_source=menu&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=item-menu

http://www.gizmag.com/heat-triggered-self-destructing-transient-electronic-devices/37646/

More information: “Thermally triggered degredation of transient electronic devices,”

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201501180/full

Posted in Electronics, Engineering, Green Technology, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vertical Integration 2.0: An Old Strategy Makes a Comeback


Vertical integration is the degree to which a firm owns its upstream suppliers and its downstream buyers with the goal of increasing the company's power in the marketplace - Image Credit Word Cloud "Vertical Integration" Author: mindscanner

Vertical integration is the degree to which a firm owns its upstream suppliers and its downstream buyers with the goal of increasing the company’s power in the marketplace – Image Credit Word Cloud “Vertical Integration” Author: mindscanner

“Owning the value chain” was a favorite strategy in the early part of last century. Companies sought advantage by moving “upstream” to control the means of production that supplied their main business or “downstream” to ensure their path to market. For example, 100 years ago Ford owned rubber plantations, coal and iron ore mines, and even railways.

But vertical integration largely fell out of favor when conglomeration became fashionable during the late 1960s and early ’70s. In fact, many industries underwent vertical dis-integration. Today, for example, computer companies once made the memory and processing chips and wrote the operating and applications software for the computers they manufactured and sold, specialists in chip making, software development, and hardware assembly now dominate the industry. And although some energy companies still find oil in the deep sea, process it in their refineries, and sell it to us at our corner gas station, the oil industry now has “pure play” companies in each stage of its value chain.

Is vertical integration a thing of the past? On the contrary, it seems to be making a comeback, particularly in Silicon Valley, where it’s been given a new label (just to remind us that everything that emanates from there is innovative!): the “full stack” business model. Some companies are migrating upstream: Take Netflix and Amazon getting into the original programming business and Harry’s (a U.S. startup that sells men’s razors and shaving cream by monthly subscription) acquiring a factory in Germany to make its own razor blades. Others are integrating downstream. Consider Apple owning and operating a retail chain to sell its own products and Google launching a wireless telecom network in the United States. Some companies are even doing both. Tesla, for instance, is bypassing traditional dealerships to sell its cars directly to the consumer while also building the world’s largest battery plant.

Are all these modern forms of vertical integration good strategies? Yes, if two special conditions are met. The first is a “market failure” that is hurting your business; the most common are supply risk, demand risk, and profit gouging. The second is that you have the power or capabilities to fix and even exploit that market failure. Without market failure, vertical integration is just plain ole diversification. And without the power or capabilities to exploit a market failure, it’s a very risky strategy.

As a matter of fact, companies might be entering a new business in direct competition with those for whom that business is their focus. If they are right about their supply risk, their vertical integration will indeed be a critical ingredient to their continued success. But if they fail, they will learn that companies have to pay up for things that are not so easy to replicate on their own.

In the end, vertical integration is a strategy driven by lack of trust that upstream and downstream players will come through for your business, and not overcharge you. If that lack of trust is well founded, there’s a failure in the market. And if you have the market power or essential capabilities to enter your suppliers’ or customers’ business, vertical integration makes sense for your strategy. But those are two very big ifs.

 

 

Adapted from an article in S+B by Ken Favaro. To read the full article:

http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Vertical-Integration-2-0-An-Old-Strategy-Makes-a-Comeback

Posted in Business Analysis, Customer service, Global Business, Global strategic Management, strategic management, Turnaround | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Use Your Creativity to Make the World a Better Place


What does innovation mean to you and your industry?  (Image credit - Swiftkey)

What does innovation mean to you and your industry? (Image credit – Swiftkey)

This week (April 15–21) is World Creativity & Innovation Week — a seven day celebration of the new, the different and the life-changing. But what exactly do creativity and innovation mean in this day and age? 

The dictionary defines‘innovation’ as “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods”. And that’s a good place to start. But it says nothing of the huge surge in popularity of innovation over the past decade. Innovation is now the modern day mantra and life blood of brands and business leaders alike. “Move fast and break things,” Mark Zuckerberg tells us. “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” advised Steve Jobs. Walt Disney touched on the subject far earlier even than those Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Today’s brands, and even whole countries, are judged by how innovative they are, with rankings such as the International Innovation Index, Innovations Indikator, Bloomberg Innovation Ranking, and Fast Companies Most Innovative Companies all driving the need to act faster.

In fact, so positive has our culture’s association with innovation become, so emphatic is the word and what it represents, it’s hard to believe that the term ‘Innovator’ was once branded as an insult.

Coming from the Latin ‘innovatus’ meaning ‘to renew or restore’, the first recorded use of the word innovation — in English at least — occurred in the 1590s. While the word was progressive, the times were not; ‘novation’implied newness which was anathema to the strict religious dogma of Europe at the time. Being an ‘innovator’ could quite easily land you in jail.

As with many things, that changed in the 19th Century with the industrial revolution. Revolution itself is a stirring word, implying development and progress, and this golden age for science and industry placed invention on a pedestal. Innovation and invention gained positive connotations of a better future. Over time, invention has come to speak of that moment of pure creativity; whereas innovation has become about the ability to bring the new and life-improving to market..

Use of the word innovation has boomed since the 1950s, so you’d think that we are experiencing a peak period for innovation. In reality, the number of new inventions being created is declining — we just talk about them more. You could argue that we’re in the midst of a golden age for making innovations stick; increased social acceptance and the internet are responsible for the ease at which an innovation can scale. You only need look at the lightening growth of companies like Uber and AirBnB to see that in action.

Innovation is nobody’s job and everyone’s business, seems to be the common belief these days among the marketers.

What does innovation mean to you and your industry? Has that definition changed over the years? And what’s the next great buzzword? Will ‘sustainability’, ‘disruption’ or ‘design’ be the ‘innovation’ of tomorrow?

“Creativity is contagious — pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

 

 

Adapted from an Article in medium.com

Full article @

https://medium.com/@Philips/innovation-is-everywhere-but-what-does-it-mean-1be06f9b265a

Posted in Engineering, Global strategic Management, Green Technology, internet of things, robotics, science, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Avoiding Decision Paralysis in the Face of Uncertainty


You can’t wait to have all the information before acting, and you can’t wait for the perfect conditions to set your course. Instead, take the initiative to actively manage uncertainty.

You can’t wait to have all the information before acting, and you can’t wait for the perfect conditions to set your course. Instead, take the initiative to actively manage uncertainty.

The best leaders know how to keep moving forward in ambiguous situations. Whether it’s a shifting industry or a PR emergency, they’re expected to make decisions even in extremely uncertain circumstances.

Any leader facing high levels of ambiguity needs to do two apparently paradoxical things: First, get comfortable with the idea of not having all the answers, and second, take steps to reduce the uncertainty.

  1. Get comfortable with the unknown.

Instead of feeling comfortable with the unknown, humans crave information that will make the ambiguous less so. The problem is that seeking more information sometimes feels like forward movement, when in reality, we’re delaying taking action because the information we need doesn’t exist or is so hard to find that we won’t get it in time.

Business leaders must recognize this instinct and overcome it. It takes courage to walk into a situation knowing you won’t be able to judge your decisions until you’ve succeeded or failed. Develop enough self-knowledge to know whether you have a natural tendency to overanalyze or seek perfection. If so, set limits on yourself. Determine that you’ll gather as much information as you can in one week before making a decision, or restrict yourself to consulting no more than four people before acting.

Researchers have studied how people in high-risk professions, such as firefighting, deal with uncertainty, and formed the theory of “organizing ambiguity.” They found that leaders who successfully navigate uncertain situations are able to properly contextualize their circumstances — or in their words, “make effective sense of the hazards within dangerous contexts such that they avoid catastrophic mistakes.” This lets them take action while recognizing that variables are changing and adjustments may be needed if their assumptions prove incorrect. When you face dilemmas calmly using a balance of information and instinct, you make better decisions that fit the changing conditions.

You can also look for how uncertainty works to your advantage in creating a new future, and help people around you see that ambiguity can unlock potential. For example, ambiguity can create discomfort and make us explore options that we may not have considered just months before.

  1. Reduce uncertainty where you can.

There are rarely “right” answers in business. But making a decision — even if it’s deemed imperfect later — has the benefit of reducing uncertainty for the rest of your company or team.. Is that the right decision or the wrong one? We won’t know for some time — but in the meantime, Target now has a clearer sense of its priorities.

Considering the ways that a current situation deviates from past experiences or patterns is one of several things leaders can do to derail old habits and eliminate subjective decision-making tendencies. Ask what’s different about the circumstances you’re in now, as well as which players have changed or introduced new elements.

Effective leaders also consider multiple perspectives when they’re in uncharted waters, by encouraging collaboration, input, and new ideas. Be inclusive, and rely less on hierarchy and more on relevant experience. Above all, avoid the “I have all the answers” trap. It’s important to know when your expertise helps and when it’s creating a blind spot.

Finally, an incremental approach can reduce uncertainty while avoiding the risks that come with making a big, sweeping decision. Create a series of short-term plans that can evolve as the situation becomes clearer. You’ll likely need a long-term financial plan, but keep your operational plan more fluid, adjusting it with new information. Regularly ask your team, “What have we learned that must change our plans in the next three months?”

“Construct the best possible future” one day at a time. Accept that there will be uncertainties, develop confidence in your own decision-making, and be ready to take the next step.

You can’t wait to have all the information before acting, and you can’t wait for the perfect conditions to set your course. Instead, take the initiative to actively manage uncertainty.

 

 

Adapted from an article in Harvard Business review by Patti Johnson.

Full artcicle:

https://hbr.org/2015/03/avoiding-decision-paralysis-in-the-face-of-uncertainty

Posted in Econimic Slow down, emergin markets, Global strategic Management, Middle east, Oil & Gas, Turnaround, Tutoring | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Calm, it’s Pi Day Today (March 14,2015 – 9:26:53)


Once in a life time!! March 14, 2015 - 9:26:53 = 3.141592653

Once in a life time!! March 14, 2015 – 9:26:53 = 3.141592653

Posted in Engineering, Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Know the Science Behind Captivating Others


“Attention is the most important currency that anybody can give you,” Steve Rubel of Edelman once said. “It’s worth more than money, possessions or things.”

“Attention is the most important currency that anybody can give you,” Steve Rubel of Edelman once said. “It’s worth more than money, possessions or things.”

Your long-term success depends on winning the attention of others. If your boss doesn’t notice your work, how will you get a promotion? If your team doesn’t listen to you, how can you lead effectively? And if you can’t capture the attention of clients, how does your business or career survive?

“Attention is the most important currency that anybody can give you,” Steve Rubel of Edelman once said. “It’s worth more than money, possessions or things.”

But very few people know the science behind captivating others. These are seven triggers that call people to attention:

Automaticity. If somebody fires a gun in the air, you’re going to turn your head. If a female hitchhiker wears red, she’s more likely to get picked up. Sensory cues like these to direct our attention automatically. It’s a safety and survival mechanism that helps us react faster than our brains can think. You need not to speak louder than everyone else and always wear crimson dresses or socks. But think about more subtle ways to play on people’s instincts to capture attention. For example, try giving a star prospect or client a hot cup of coffee or tea. One study published in Science found that exposure to that kind of warmth made them more giving and friendly.

Framing. Our view of the world is shaped by our biological, social, and personal experiences and biases. These frames of reference lead us to embrace and pay attention to some ideas and to ignore others entirely. To leverage this trigger, you have to either adapt to your audience’s frame or change it. One technique you might use to achieve the latter is repetition. A classic study from the 1970s found that if you expose subjects to the same statement repeatedly, they will start to believe it is true. So don’t be afraid to repeat a message if you want it to sink in.

Disruption. We pay special attention to anything that violates our expectations. This is because we have an innate need to figure out whether the incident signals a threat or a positive development. In academic circles, this is known as expectancy violations theory. The more disruptive something is, the more interesting it becomes. To get the attention of your bosses, clients and colleagues, try surprising them in a positive way: ask an unexpected question, beat a tough deadline, invite them for a walk instead of a coffee.

Reward. Many people believe the neurotransmitter dopamine causes us to feel pleasure. But, according to Dr. Kent Berridge of the University of Michigan, it is much more aligned with anticipation and motivation. It fuels our desire to “want” food, sex, money or more intrinsic rewards like self-satisfaction and a sense of purpose. The prospect of capturing these things makes us pay attention. Your goal as a manager should be to identify the incentives that most appeal to your employees, colleagues and bosses and to make them more visceral in their minds. Rewards we can touch, experience, or even just visualize have a greater impact on our attention. For example, when you’re offering your team an off-site retreat at the end of a big project, don’t just tell them about it – send them pictures and make them salivate.

Reputation. Consumers consistently rate experts as the most trusted spokespeople, more than CEOs or celebrities. There’s a scientific reason for this: in a 2009 study, Emory University neuroeconomist Greg Berns found that the decision-making centers of our brains slow or even shut down while we are receiving advice from an expert. This is a phenomenon Dr. Robert Cialdini calls “directed deference.” So, especially if you’re trying to capture the attention of people who don’t know you, feel free to lead with your credentials, establish your expertise and cite others who are most knowledgeable on the topic at hand.

Mystery. Ever wonder why we’re unable to put down a good book or stop binge-watching shows like Lost? Our memory is fine-tuned to remember incomplete stories and tasks. There’s actually a scientific term for this: the Zeigarnik effect, named after the Soviet psychologist who discovered it. We also dislike uncertainty and will actively try to reduce it by any means possible, and you can use this to your advantage. Say you’re meeting with a prospective client or recruit, and you’d like her to come back for a second meeting. Tell her a story or assign yourself a task that you’ll complete when she does. Her compulsion for completion will nag at her, which means you’ve got her attention.

Acknowledgement. Dr. Thomas de Zengotita, a media anthropologist and author of Mediated, believes that acknowledgement – our need for validation and empathy from others – is one of our most vital needs. “All mammals want attention,” he said. “Only human beings need acknowledgment.” Key to this is a sense of belonging to a community that cares about us. Create that feeling for anyone whose attention you’d like to capture, and they’ll repay you.

The most effective employees, managers, and executives are the ones who use these seven triggers to shine a spotlight on their ideas, projects, and teams. Understanding the science of attention is a prerequisite to success in the information age.

 

 

Excerpt from an article in HBR by Ben Parr. Full article @:

https://hbr.org/2015/03/7-ways-to-capture-someones-attention

Posted in Global strategic Management, How it works, Marketing, Sales, science, Tutoring | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Volatile World of Oil and Gas


The general outlook has never been so uncertain—for national and international producers, state-owned and privately held companies, “majors” and “minnows” alike.

The general outlook has never been so uncertain—for national and international producers, state-owned and privately held companies, “majors” and “minnows” alike.

The oil industry, like the consumer products and aerospace and defense industries before it, has hit a tipping point. The dramatic fall in oil prices in late 2014 caught much of the industry by surprise and threatened the commercial viability of many existing oil plays. Naturally, the attention of the industry and the media is focused there. But the more significant story is not the decline, but the volatility, of prices. Prices may go up or down in the future, but volatility is here to stay.

Indeed, the general outlook has never been so uncertain—for national and international producers, state-owned and privately held companies, “majors” and “minnows” alike. Political conflicts continue to escalate in oil-producing regions; the effect on the industry of climate change (and resulting regulations) remains unknown. The slowdown in economic growth among emerging economies has led to a hiccup in energy demand, with no clear indication of how long that slump will last. Another major factor is rapid innovation in hydraulic fracturing and other technologies. This has not just reduced the cost of unconventional oil and gas plays, but it has led to oscillating returns on investment in new fields. The broadening array of operating environments, from these unconventional plays to mature fields to ultra-deepwater exploration, is challenging the traditional portfolio strategies of many oil and gas companies. No single company, not even the integrated majors like ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP, has the technical, operational and commercial capabilities to succeed in all the new oil and gas operating environments.

No one knows what will happen next, so the market now places a premium on the one thing it can count on: the ability of companies to shape their destiny. The winning oil and gas companies are no longer those with global scale or those that own the most assets. The winners know they cannot afford to try to do everything. Instead, they focus on a distinctive value proposition, invest in the capabilities they need to deliver it, and build their identity and business model accordingly.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation, for example, exploits its expertise in mature field operations and enhanced oil recovery to become a partner of choice for asset holders in the Middle East. Apache Corporation specializes in maximizing production and value from underexploited fields, through cost management, infill drilling, and nearfield exploration. Petroleum Development Oman distinguishes itself through proficiency in enhanced oil recovery, aligned to the requirements of its maturing portfolio.

Meanwhile, large and diverse oil companies are divesting or spinning out the businesses that don’t fit with their core capabilities systems. In 2014, both ExxonMobil and BP announced that they would separate unconventional shale operations from their traditional operations. ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Murphy Oil, and Total separated their upstream (exploration and production) and downstream (refining and retail) operations.

This type of focus, though visibly successful, is difficult to accomplish. Few management teams are prepared to orient their portfolio around what they do best. The difficulties are exacerbated by growing shortages of skilled personnel—an ironic consequence of the previous 20 years, when there were so many petroleum engineering graduates for the jobs available that the field of study became unpopular. Moreover, the volatility itself seems at first glance to argue against focusing on a single value proposition. If the world changes rapidly, wouldn’t it make sense to remain as widely diversified as possible?

In practice, however, focus can add flexibility. If your company is clear on its strategy, you can adjust investments to adapt to changing conditions, like an expert sailor who sticks to a single course but responds rapidly to changes in the prevailing wind and water conditions. If you remain caught in the best practices of the past—defining a path and rigidly executing it in a stage-gated way—your assumptions will not hold true; the prevailing winds will not take you where you want to go. The answer is not to follow every opportunity, but to pick a direction where your capabilities give you confidence. Keep sensing the market, continuously calibrating your awareness of outside forces, and adjusting your activity as needed.

For example, some companies take small stakes in emerging basins aligned with their capabilities. This step positions them to move quickly if significant discoveries are made. Others develop scenarios for different futures—high, low, and volatile oil prices, for example—and plan ways to deliver profitability in their own distinctive way, no matter which outcome arrives. Others incorporate flexibility into long-cycle investment projects by designing modular field developments that can be scaled up or down in response to changing market conditions. Companies in highly volatile operating environments such as Iraq already take this approach; it will ultimately be adopted everywhere.

As an oil company, your first move in this new volatile environment should be a focused strategy: a promising value proposition with an integrated capabilities system to back it up. Make sure this strategy is feasible in every region where you do business; avoid overextending into diverse operating environments. Through shrewdly targeted acquisition and divestiture, assemble a portfolio that fits your value proposition. Your company will then be one of the few reliable enterprises in this volatile future: a company that sails ahead of the competition because it knows how to do what it does extremely well.

 

Article from Strategy+Business:

http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/The-New-Volatile-World-of-Oil-and-Gas?gko=41ef9

Strategy& executive advisor David Branson also contributed to this article, which is adapted from the report “Sail, not rail: Dynamic, capabilities-driven strategies for oil and gas companies.” 

Posted in Business Analysis, economic slow down, Energy, GCC, Global strategic Management, Middle east, Oil & Gas, Turnaround | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Lead in Ambiguous Times


 How do you lead your organization through ambiguity to success?

How do you lead your organization through ambiguity to success?

Stability, resilience, and relationships are the keys to thriving amid geopolitical crises.

A glance at today’s headlines leaves little doubt that we have entered a new era of geopolitical turbulence. Acts of terror and violence, humanitarian crises, and public health emergencies are rarely localized events. Instead, these shocks transcend borders, presenting global challenges. Just as one crisis fades, another rises to take its place. Adding further complexity, today’s enemy (unlike in that previous period of great geopolitical uncertainty, the Cold War) is often unseen or unknown.

For company leaders, then, geopolitical uncertainty raises critical questions: How can you make decisions, particularly long-range investment decisions in far-flung parts of the world, when so much is in flux? How do you lead your organization through ambiguity to success?

Corporate leaders cannot give up the need to grow. But they have to take ambiguity into account. In essence, the right approach is focused on sustainability. Company leaders are asked, by their employees, customers, or society at large, to “give back” by supporting charitable causes and the environment. But the same companies do not pay enough attention to becoming more sustainable themselves.

Sustaining a business in uncertain times requires executives to prioritize stability, resilience, and relationship management. Developing these executive practices won’t shield you from crisis, but it will help ensure that when the dust settles, your company is not just standing, but moving forward.

Preparing for the Worst

For the foreseeable future, volatility and ambiguity will continue to define the geopolitical landscape. Fortunately, companies can survive, and even thrive, in this environment, by focusing on the following three approaches.

  1. Strength through stability.It isn’t easy for many business leaders to recognize that the pursuit of rapid growth for growth’s sake, a business preoccupation since the Industrial Revolution, is counterproductive today. In fact, it often leads to business failure.

Undisciplined growth in a time of uncertainty results in unintended consequences that will limit your company’s success and potentially curtail its survival. Leaders must become much more purposeful about the type of growth they pursue and the reasons for such pursuits.

Organizations that build an operating model around enduring stability will have an edge. An organization’s strength is based on what its people have habitually learned to do together. If this is genuine strength, grounded in competent management of highly skilled people, then the institution becomes an attractor for people who are looking for havens for their money, their business, and their talent.

  1. Decentralized resilience.Resilience is the ability to absorb shock: to evade the worst effects, to reduce the overall impact, and to manage the negative consequences. For companies, this means not being too vulnerable to any one sector or any one relationship. Different parts of the organization also need to have different governance models. That frees people who are truly excellent in what they do to respond more rapidly and adroitly to threats when they surface, so they can reach a profitable, relatively secure outcome. Decentralized enterprises tend to be resilient, because if they get hurt in one place the business as a whole is still viable.

But decentralization does not mean lack of a central focus. A company composed of multiple business units that have little to do with one another is not truly resilient. It is merely a collection of vulnerabilities, each on a different time line. Coordinated decentralization—within a company, and among companies—is going to be very important in the future. The most successful leaders will clearly articulate what they stand for and make it easy for others to make the right decisions.

  1. Broad and deep relationships.The success of an enterprise doesn’t depend solely on how much value it provides for its clients annually. It can also be measured by the breadth and depth of its associations over time.

Breadth reflects the number of connections a company has. As a company leader, is your relationship with another company limited to connections with its leaders? Or are people throughout both enterprises working closely together? Networks are much more resilient than individual touch points. Particularly when a company is doing business internationally, it doesn’t want one person in the firm to have relationships with 10 clients. If that person walks out the door, he or she takes those 10 clients too. Companies need to strive for more networked relationships, so even if somebody leaves, its customers are still engaged with other people and multiple parts of the firm. Such networks also become crucial in times of crisis: If your business loses access to critical resources, you can tap this network to maintain the status quo until you are able to get operations back up and running.

Depth represents the way your company engages with others: the intensity, creativity, and outcome of your work together. The quality of relationships is increasingly crucial for staying in business.

Choosing Stewardship

Most companies can’t change easily. They’ve invested a great deal of time and money in their existing businesses—even in basic things like getting licenses to operate and vetting the right partners. And their patterns of behavior are much more deeply rooted than they think. Employees resist change, in part, because they see the value of what they already have, and don’t want to see it thrown away. In business, as in nature, you can’t grow too big and remain agile.

Because you can’t be fully agile in ambiguous times, be a steward of your organization. Be stable, resilient, and networked enough to succeed. And remember that if the environment is particularly dire, sometimes simply not ceding ground as you recalibrate for the future is a victory in and of itself.

 

An excerpt from an article by Ian Bremmer in S+B

Full article @ http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00306?pg=all

Posted in Business Analysis, Customer service, Econimic Slow down, emergin markets, Global strategic Management, Middle east, Turnaround | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allow your Emotional Intelligence Also to Do the Sales


Put your Emotional intelligence to work for Sales success

Put your Emotional intelligence to work for Sales success

When should salespeople sell with facts and figures, and when should we try to speak to the buyer’s emotional subconscious, instead? When do you talk to Mr. Intuitive, and when to Mr. Rational?

I’d argue that too often, selling to Mr. Rational leads to analysis paralysis, especially for complex products or services. And yet many of us continue to market almost exclusively to Mr. Rational. The result is that we spend too much time chasing sales opportunities that eventually stall out. We need to improve our ability to sell to Mr. Intuitive.

We default to selling to Mr. Rational because when we think of ourselves, we identify with our conscious rational mind. We can’t imagine that serious executives would make decisions based on emotion, because we view our emotional decisions as irrational and irresponsible.

But what if Mr. Intuitive has a logic of his own? In recent years, psychologists and behavioral economists have shown that our emotional decisions are neither irrational nor irresponsible. In fact, we now understand that our unconscious decisions follow a logic of their own. They are based on a deeply empirical mental processing system that is capable of effortlessly processing millions of bits of data without getting overwhelmed. Our conscious mind, on the other hand, has a strict bottleneck, because it can only process three or four new pieces of information at a time due to the limitations of our working memory.

So if you can’t reliably use your own decision-making history as a guide, when do you know you should be selling based on logic, or on emotion?

Here’s the short rule of thumb: sell to Mr. Rational for simple sales, and Mr. Intuitive for complex sales.

If you want to influence how a customer feels about your product, provide an experience that creates the desired emotion. One of the best ways for a customer to experience your complex product is by sharing a vivid customer story. Research has shown that stories can activate the region of the brain that processes sights, sounds, tastes, and movement. Contrast this approach to a salesperson delivering a data dump in the form of an 85-slide power point presentation.

Rather than thinking of the emotional mind as irrational, think of it this way: an emotion is simply the way the unconscious communicates its decision to the conscious mind.

An excerpt from an article by Michael D. Harris at Harvard Business Review “When to Sell with Facts and Figures, and When to Appeal to Emotions”

Full article :

https://hbr.org/2015/01/when-to-sell-with-facts-and-figures-and-when-to-appeal-to-emotions

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‘Freedom of the press cannot be killed’


'Freedom of the press cannot be killed'

‘Freedom of the press cannot be killed’

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Wishing You a Greener Christmas and a New Year


The Future of our children, the future of our planet, it's in our hands. That's why energy matters

The Future of our children, the future of our planet, it’s in our hands. That’s why energy matters

Posted in Energy, Fuel consumption, Global strategic Management, Green Energy, Green Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Strategist’s Guide to the Internet of Things


The Internet of Things -Estimates of potential economic impact by 2020 range from about US$2 trillion to more than $14 trillion.

The Internet of Things -Estimates of potential economic impact by 2020 range from about US$2 trillion to more than $14 trillion.

The digital interconnection of billions of devices is today’s most dynamic business opportunity.

As new and challenging as today’s IoT is, it offers a large and wide-open playing field. The companies that gain the right to win in this sphere will be those that understand just how disruptive the IoT will be, and that create a value proposition to take advantage of the opportunities (An excerpt from an article in Startegy+Business by Frank Burkitt).

Humanity has arrived at a critical threshold in the evolution of computing. By 2020, an estimated 50 billion devices around the globe will be connected to the Internet. Perhaps a third of them will be computers, smartphones, tablets, and TVs. The remaining two-thirds will be other kinds of “things”: sensors, actuators, and newly invented intelligent devices that monitor, control, analyze, and optimize our world.

This seemingly sudden trend has been decades in the making, but is just now hitting a tipping point. The arrival of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) represents a transformative shift for the economy, similar to the introduction of the PC itself. It incorporates other major technology industry trends such as cloud computing, data analytics, and mobile communications, but goes beyond them. Unlike earlier efforts to track and control large systems, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID), the Internet connection gives this shift almost limitless versatility. The IoT also opens a range of new business opportunities for a variety of players. These opportunities tend to fall into three broad strategic categories, each reflecting a different type of enterprise:

  • “Enablers” that develop and implement the underlying technology
  • “Engagers” that design, create, integrate, and deliver IoT services to customers
  • “Enhancers” that devise their own value-added services, on top of the services provided by Engagers, that are unique to the Internet of Things

How will your company build value in this new world? That will depend on the type of business you have today, the capabilities you can develop for tomorrow, and, most of all, your ability to understand the meaning of this new technology.

Evolution and Opportunity

At present, the Internet of Things remains a wide-open playing field for enterprises. It’s young, heterogeneous, and full of uncertainty. Estimates of potential economic impact by 2020 (as tracked by the Postscapes information service) range from about US$2 trillion to more than $14 trillion. Companies small and large, old and new, are scrambling to stake out their territory. But the greatest long-term business value of the Internet of Things will involve getting to know customers—both consumers and businesses—more intimately, and providing new digital services and experiences to delight them.

Rarely, if ever, has a single technological platform combined this much complexity, speed of development, global reach, and novelty among customers. Consider the range of interconnected systems, products, and services the IoT will enable, from simple monitoring of home temperature and security to the “quantified self” (the tracking of personal health, diet, and exercise metrics), to fully networked factories and hospitals, to automated cities that respond to the movements and interests of thousands of people at once.

Yet for all its power, the IoT is still at the early-adopter stage; in the words of innovation theorist Geoffrey Moore, it has yet to “cross the chasm” into the mainstream. It thus behooves business strategists now to figure out the role they want to play, the capabilities they will need to move forward, and the types of innovation they should pursue.

Technologies of the IoT

To deliver these products and services requires a combination of five major types of technological offerings.

  1. Endpoints
  2. Simple hubs
  3. Integrating hubs
  4. Network and cloud services
  5. Enhanced services

These five technological options, from endpoints to enhanced services, provide a menu of diverse opportunities for companies building IoT businesses. Some might start making stand-alone endpoints, and move up to producing hubs. Others might parlay their expertise at integrating hubs into providing network and cloud services—or vice versa.

With all these possibilities, companies run the risk of moving in too many directions at once—and thus being overwhelmed by more focused competitors with more distinctive IoT-related capabilities.

Your Company’s IoT Strategy

A wealth of opportunities exist for each of the three types of IoT strategy models: Enablers, Engagers, and Enhancers. Entering the fray, however, should not be undertaken lightly. The IoT market’s newness and heterogeneity will make it difficult to negotiate, even by those companies with the strongest capabilities and the clearest, most compelling value propositions.

Many challenging issues remain. Customer demands and expectations are still hard to discern, and the hardware and software standards for the IoT are still evolving. Billions of endpoints and intelligent devices must be integrated. The data they produce must be managed and analyzed. This is no small task, especially given increasing concerns about security and reliability.

If your company wants to stake a claim with the Internet of Things, you first need to develop a distinctive “way to play”—a clear value proposition that you can offer customers. This should be consistent with your enterprise’s overall capabilities system: the things you do best when you go to market, aligned with most or all of the products and services you sell.

With those elements in place, if you tread carefully and methodically, the time is right. To develop a strategy for the IoT, you could proceed by addressing, in order:

  1. Your own role in the IoT.Given your existing value proposition and capabilities, are you best suited to be an Enabler, Engager, or Enhancer?
  2. Industries and markets.Assess how your business environment is being (or could be) transformed by the IoT. If you are an Engager or Enhancer, what endpoints, hubs, and services are already being sold in your market? How are they expected to combine? What sense do you have of the demand for them? The more IoT activity that already exists in your industry, as it does in healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, and home-related sectors, the more rapidly you will have to move.
  3. Customer or business engagement.Because value in the IoT will be created through the transformation of customer experience, you need strong capabilities in experience design. Even if you are an Enabler, without direct customer contact, or if opportunities for engagement appear limited in your industry, the IoT could eventually transform your business. What capabilities do you already have in this area, and what will you need to develop?
  4. Connected products and services.Assess your current lineup of offerings to determine which can be enhanced through IoT connectivity, and what new ones could be developed expressly for the IoT. For new launches and innovations, take into account how connectivity will be established, how your company will analyze and use the resulting data, and which other companies you might collaborate with—all set against the proposed revenue model and income stream.
  5. An enhanced connection.Most Engagers will deploy an initial wave of basic connected devices and services. Then they will build further services by using analytics to gain insights from the wealth of new data that the IoT provides them. As these deployments unfold, Engagers will look for ways to increase value. This is where Enhancers will come in. What new business models might emerge? Would you want to develop any of them, or do you want to partner with other companies that can help serve this need?
  6. Your organization’s capabilities.Your company will need to distinguish itself in this space. What will you do that no other company does as well (or at all)? What improvements and investments will you need to make? Where will the necessary time, money, and attention come from; what activities will you need to divest or downplay so their resources can move here?

You may also need to develop some “table stakes” capabilities that all IoT companies must have. These include the ability to manage and analyze huge quantities of data, to integrate diverse portfolios of services, and to build business relationships with other IoT-related companies, some of which may have very different cultures. You probably already have innovation processes in place, but they may not be customer-centric enough. You may also need to foster more opportunities for people in your company to experiment and learn rapidly about what works and what doesn’t.

One virtue of the IoT is the degree to which companies lacking in technological expertise can lean on the devices and platforms that others build. Even so, the creation and delivery of IoT services will require you to design and prototype their new services, to manage them once implemented, and to analyze the resulting wealth of data.

To read the full Article: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00294?pg=all

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A new technique for generating electricity


Schematic of the new electricity generation technique. Bodies 1 and 2 have different work functions.

Schematic of the new electricity generation technique. Bodies 1 and 2 have different work functions.

Research scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have demonstrated a new technique for generating electrical energy. The new method can be used in harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations of the environment and converting it into electricity. Energy harvesters are needed, for example, in wireless self-powered sensors and medical implants, where they could ultimately replace batteries. In the future, energy harvesters can open up new opportunities in many application areas such as wearable electronics.

Research scientists at VTT have successfully generated energy by utilizing the charging phenomenon that occurs naturally between two bodies with different work functions. Work function is the amount of energy needed to remove an electron from a solid and it determines, for example, the well-known photoelectric effect. When two conducting bodies with different work functions are connected to each other electrically, they accumulate opposite charges. Moving of these bodies with respect to each other generates energy because of the attractive electrostatic force between the opposite charges. In VTT’s experiment the energy generated by this motion was converted into useful electrical power by connecting the bodies to an external circuit. This new technique also works with semiconductors.

In many sensor applications and such as pacemakers, electricity is typically provided by batteries. Research into small that turn mechanical vibration into electricity has focused on piezoelectric and electrostatic devices. Unlike these devices VTT’s technique does not require an integrated battery, electrets or piezo materials.

VTT estimates that the new electricity generation technology could be introduced on an industrial scale within three to six years. Energy harvesters and new sensing solutions are among the projected megatrends of the near future. Energy harvesters can replace batteries and other energy sources in applications where maintenance is difficult or impossible.

The findings of the study were published in the Scientific Reports online journal.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-11-technique-electricity.html#jCp

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On Leaving a loved Company


IME is the Distributor of RS Components in UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon and Turkey

IME is the Distributor of RS Components in UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon and Turkey

I’ve just left IME, a family owned business, after more than a decade (almost 13 yrs).

My friends are struck dumb when they hear how long I’ve worked at IME. Even socialist-minded friends in France raise eyebrows.

In an era when everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, it’s inconceivably unsexy to work with the same company long-term. The automatic thought that people have is: What’s wrong with you?

So – as I depart, I’ve been pondering exactly what it could be that would make someone with drive stay in a company for longer than the next promotion.

I’ve come up with 3 things.

  1. Leadership. The Action, Not The Words.

As an employee, nothing has been more effective in generating innate loyalty than the confidence to act. And if people don’t have the confidence to act, they stop acting without being told what to do.

As Director of Installations M.E., I have provided the strategic, visionary leadership and management on behalf of the Company. I came from France about 14 years ago; I brought with me a profound knowledge of sales, marketing, technical expertise, strategic management and engineering to lead the Company to new and higher levels of achievement in every facet of business and the industry. I have achieved operational and cost efficiency, operational competitiveness and the delivery of outstanding shareholder value.

Opportunity – With Effort

My broad professional experience, my proven success in managing global businesses and my exposure to an international environment has enabled me to efficiently handle my divergent executive functions. Securing an enviable reputation with a proven record of success, my employment portfolio includes such distinguished positions as Director for Group Brink’s and commercial director of Group TAG. Playing an essential and pivotal role in the Company’s success, I was responsible for devising, defining and implementing new, innovative sales and marketing strategies and furnishing the vision and motivation that are geared to.

I’ve worked with and managed amazing people. I’ve built a great customer service, introduced RS brand to new markets, and launched platforms. I’ve been able to align my personal passions for content marketing and social media with the interests of the company.

But – I’ve also set my alarm to 4am for stretches of weeks at a time. I’ve worked more all-nighters than I’d care to remember. Opportunity has two sides, and the effort of moving up isn’t made on paper.

In the end I believe most people don’t want to be micro-managed. They want to do work they love, and make an impact. I love my work and believe in a culture that rewards merit over tenure, results over title.

3. Choose People Over Process

It’s been suggested to me that perhaps I’m not the easiest person to manage. Yet at IME I’ve always reported to people that might have not taught me something, but have shown respect and empowered me to succeed. On many occasions, I’ve challenged the way things are. No doubt, for the owner of IME that hasn’t always been easy – but never for a minute have I felt without support and I can only thank him for his wisdom after 40 years in this business.

It seems to me that people who are motivated long-term in companies are both a part of and apart from the organisation. You cannot act as a change agent without being accepted at some level by the company itself. But at the same time, there is a desire for improvement that makes you constantly restless and motivated to challenge the current reality.

My specialties: Creating an unrivalled ability to meet customer demands, my career success is attributed to professionalism, experience, integrity, stewardship, perseverance, commitment, keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground and an open approach in working with people. Being fluent in three different languages and maintaining a comprehensive international professional network have also contributed to my success.

In short, doing the right thing, being open to change, respecting people. I’m sure it will continue to shape who I am for many years to come.

 

Adapted from an article by Todd Wheatland.

Original article:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140326222654-5638777-on-leaving-a-great-company

Posted in Business Ethics, Customer service, emergin markets, Engineering, Global strategic Management, Retail, RS Components, supply Chain, UAE | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Raspberry Pi Adds More USB Ports, Still Just $35


The B+ packs four USB ports, a micro SD slot, improved audio output, lower power consumption, and more, all for the same price as the Model B: $35 USD.

The B+ packs four USB ports, a micro SD slot, improved audio output, lower power consumption, and more, all for the same price as the Model B: $35 USD.

Developed by the UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation, the Raspberry Pi Model B+ is the third iteration of the credit-card sized computer, which has sold 3m units since launch in 2012.

It runs a variant of the free open-source operating system Linux, which powers many web servers and Android smartphones.

For those that aren’t familiar, the Raspberry Pi is a low-cost, low-powered full computer that has been used by everyone from tinkerers to educators to gadget-makers.

The Raspberry Pi Model B+ still sells for the same $35 and has the same application processor and amount of RAM (512MB), but here are a few other changes:

Raspberry Pi Model B+ is available to purchase direct from RS stock for immediate shipment priced at $35 in single unit quantities.

Raspberry Pi Model B+ is available to purchase direct from RS stock for immediate shipment priced at $35 in single unit quantities.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that even though it thinks the Model B+ is a better fit for most users, it also understands that lots of industrial customers have created specific setups for the Model B. As a result, it will continue making the Model B units as long as there is demand.

For more information, please visit the website at www.rs-components.com

 

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Dubai will build World’s First Temperature-Controlled City (W/Video)


This image provided by Dubai Holding on Saturday July 5, 2014, shows an artist rendition of their planned Mall of the World project that will include an 8 million square foot (743,224 square meter) mall, a climate-controlled street network, a theme park covered during the scorching summer months and 100 hotels and serviced apartments

This image provided by Dubai Holding on Saturday July 5, 2014, shows an artist rendition of their planned Mall of the World project that will include an 8 million square foot (743,224 square meter) mall, a climate-controlled street network, a theme park covered during the scorching summer months and 100 hotels and serviced apartments

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who also has significant interests in Central Kentucky’s equine industry, has laid out plans for a sprawling real-estate project known as Mall of the World that will include the 8 million-square-foot mall, a climate-controlled street network, a theme park covered during the scorching summer months and 100 hotels and serviced apartments.

Other attractions planned for the site include a cultural and theater district drawing inspiration from New York’s Broadway, shopping thoroughfares based on London’s Oxford Street and a “wellness district” meant to attract medical tourists.

“The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible,” Sheik Mohammed said in a statement announcing the project Saturday. “This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the 2 billion people living in the region around us — and we are determined to achieve our vision.”

Sheik Mohammed owns the Darley Thoroughbred breeding operation, based at Jonabell Farm in Lexington.

Dubai Holding, a conglomerate controlled by the emirate’s ruler, is developing the complex. It gave no details on the cost or the completion date.

The complex will be built near the Mall of the Emirates, which boasts an indoor ski slope, and a short drive from the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, and the adjacent Dubai Mall. That shopping center is the emirate’s largest and has attractions including a dinosaur skeleton, an indoor ice-skating rink and a multistory aquarium.

Dubai has long used high-profile, big-ticket real estate projects to drive economic growth and establish itself as an international tourist destination.

Its ambitions were slowed significantly with a crippling financial crisis that came to a head in 2009, forcing the delay or cancellation of some of the most outlandish projects.

Dubai Holding was not spared from the financial turmoil, and some of its divisions sought new repayment terms from lenders on a debt pile that reached into the billions of dollars.

The emirate’s economy has rebounded strongly in the years since the crisis, driven by its trade, transportation and tourism-dependent economy.

Dubai is racing to develop additional infrastructure needed to accommodate a surge in visitors expected when it becomes the first Middle Eastern city to host the World Expo in 2020. Authorities expect the expo to generate $23 billion from 2015 through 2021, and estimate it will cost $8.4 billion to organize.

The new mall project alone is expected to create an additional 20,000 hotel rooms.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/07/07/3326683/dubai-to-build-worlds-largest.html#storylink=cpy

Posted in Engineering, Marketing, Middle east, Technology, UAE | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blind lead the way in brave new world of tactile technology


Disney’s research hub is developing electrostatic displays, like this jellyfish, that you can actually feel.

Disney’s research hub is developing electrostatic displays, like this jellyfish, that you can actually feel.

Imagine feeling a slimy jellyfish, a prickly cactus or map directions on your iPad mini Retina display, because that’s where tactile technology is headed. But you’ll need more than just an index finger to feel your way around.

New research at UC Berkeley has found that people are better and faster at navigating tactile technology when using both hands and several fingers. Moreover, blind people in the study outmaneuvered their sighted counterparts – especially when using both hands and several fingers – possibly because they’ve developed superior cognitive strategies for finding their way around.

Bottom line: Two hands are better than one in the brave new world of tactile or “haptic” technology, and the visually impaired can lead the way.

“Most sighted people will explore these types of displays with a single finger. But our research shows that this is a bad decision. No matter what the task, people perform better using multiple fingers and hands,” said Valerie Morash, a doctoral student in psychology at UC Berkeley, and lead author of the study just published in the online issue of the journal, Perception.

“We can learn from  how to effectively use multiple fingers, and then teach these strategies to sighted individuals who have recently lost vision or are using  in high-stakes applications like controlling surgical robots,” she added.

For decades, scientists have studied how receptors on the fingertips relay information to the brain. Now, researchers at Disney and other media companies are implementing more tactile interfaces, which use vibrations, and electrostatic or magnetic feedback for users to find their way around, or experience how something feels.

In this latest study, Morash and fellow researchers at UC Berkeley and the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco tested 14 blind adults and 14 blindfolded sighted adults on several tasks using a tactile map. Using various hand and finger combinations, they were tasked with such challenges as finding a landmark or figuring out if a road looped around.

Overall, both blind and sighted participants performed better when using both hands and several fingers, although blind participants were, on average, 50 percent faster at completing the tasks, and even faster when they used both hands and all their fingers.

“As we move forward with integrating  into displays, these technologies absolutely need to support multiple ,” Morash said. “This will promote the best tactile performance in applications such as the remote control of robotics used in space and high-risk situations, among other things.”

From Article at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-brave-world-tactile-technology.html#jCp

Explore further: Textured images help tactile recognition for the blind

 

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10 things to know about the smartphone kill switch


A “hard” kill switch would render a stolen device permanently unusable and is favoured by legislators who want to give stolen devices the “value of a paperweight”. A “soft” kill switch only make a phone unusable to “an unauthorised user”. Some argue that the only way to permanently disable a phone is to physically damage it.

A “hard” kill switch would render a stolen device permanently unusable and is favoured by legislators who want to give stolen devices the “value of a paperweight”. A “soft” kill switch only make a phone unusable to “an unauthorised user”. Some argue that the only way to permanently disable a phone is to physically damage it.

Apple already has one, Microsoft and Google say they’ll build one, Minnesota will demand it from next year and it could soon be the law in California and maybe nationwide. The smartphone kill switch appears to be on its way to every handset sold in the U.S. so what’s all the fuss about? Here’s a look at the main points of the technology.

What is it?

For more than a year, law enforcement officials across the U.S. have been pressuring the telecom industry to do more to combat smartphone theft and the kill switch has been proposed as the answer. It’s a piece of software installed in every new phone that can disable a stolen handset.

The laws don’t target tablet PCs, basic cellphones or other devices will cellular connectivity.

Why is it needed?

In the last few years, the number of violent thefts of smartphones on the streets of major U.S. cities has been rising. Some estimates say 1 in 3 thefts in the U.S. involve a smartphone. Thieves snatch phones from the hands of victims as they walk down the street or sit on public transport and then dart away. A sizeable portion of crimes involve people being threatened with knives or guns, or victims are assaulted.

Police believe that if phones can be disabled, they’ll become much less valuable on the secondhand market and the incentive for theft will drop considerably.

How will it work?

If your phone is stolen, you or someone you have authorized will be able to call your carrier or use a website to send a “kill” signal to your phone. That signal will lock the device and, if you choose, will also delete personal data. The kill switch will “render the device inoperable on the network of any provider of commercial mobile service or commercial mobile data service globally, even if the device is turned off or has the data storage medium removed,” according to the federal proposal.

The only way to revive a locked phone will be with a password supplied by the phone’s owner.

When will it begin?

Minnesota’s law and the proposed California legislation both mandate a kill-switch for smartphones that are both sold in those states and manufactured after July 1, 2015. Pending federal legislation says Jan. 1, 2015, but that’s likely to be changed as it makes it way through committees.

In Minnesota, the software must be installed or available for download, in California it will have to be preinstalled on new devices.

How much will it cost?

The Minnesota law and the proposed legislation in California and at the federal level mandate it must be available at no extra cost to users.

Do I have to have it on my phone?

No. Minnesota’s law says it should be installed or available for download. California is mandating the software be on new phones but users will have the ability to disable the feature, but it must be enabled by default. By having it opt-out rather than opt-in, law enforcement believes many more people will leave it switched on and so the chance that any given smartphone will be protected will be much higher.

The deterrent aspect of the kill switch relies on this numbers game: If a phone is likely to have the software, thieves have less incentive to steal it. If it likely doesn’t, the chance it will be stolen goes up—or at least that’s the theory.

What about Find My iPhone or Google’s Android locator?

Built-in tracking services can help locate a phone and wipe its memory if the phone remains online, but all too often thieves switch off a stolen phone and reinstall the operating system. That wipes all personal information on the phone and your link to it. California’s proposed law says the kill-switch software must be resistant to such OS reinstalls.

What’s the industry doing?

For a long time, the telecoms industry was against the idea of a kill switch. Speaking through its lobbying organization, the CTIA, the industry said a kill switch would make phones vulnerable to hacking. But earlier this year, as legislation looked more and more likely, that stance changed and the CTIA now supports a kill switch.

But the industry is hoping to avoid legislation and make it a voluntary commitment. Previously, it launched a database of stolen phones that could be used to prevent them from being reused with new accounts. However, the database has limited reach outside of the U.S. and many stolen phones are sent overseas.

Will it work?

It’s too early to tell, although some early data from New York, London and San Francisco showed significant drops in thefts of iPhones after Apple launched its kill switch. However, the causes of crime are complex and it’s much too early to draw a direct link.

But it’s safe to say a kill switch won’t do anything to encourage smartphone theft.

So, can the government kill my smartphone?

California’s proposed law is the only one that specifically addresses this issue. It allows police access to the tool but under the conditions of the existing section 7908 of the California Public Utilities Code. That gives police the ability to cut off phone service in certain situations.

A court order is typically required, although an exception is made in an emergency that poses “immediate danger of death or great bodily injury.”

 

Article by Martyn Williams : http://www.pcworld.com/article/2367480/10-things-to-know-about-the-smartphone-kill-switch.html?google_editors_picks=true

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Qatar launches largest solar energy plant in Middle East


Qatar has unveiled a first-of-its-kind solar-panel factory, saying it was now the largest solar-power producer in the region with the ability to generate 300mw of energy a year.

Qatar has unveiled a first-of-its-kind solar-panel factory, saying it was now the largest solar-power producer in the region with the ability to generate 300mw of energy a year.

A Qatar-based renewable energy company, Qatar Solar Energy (QSE), has announced the launch of the largest facility for the development and manufacture of solar energy panels in the Middle East and North Africa.

QSE’s innovative model combines the operations of research, technological development, manufacturing, project development and installation all under one roof. “There is an integrated production line, starting with the raw materials all the way to the consumer,” claimed Abbassi, “which allows the company to pursue continuous innovation as well as the integration of the latest technologies in its products.

While Qatar – the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world – is unlikely to trade fossil-fuel production for solar anytime soon, the time had come to focus on renewable energy. Qatar’s government plans to convert two percent of its power output to renewable sources by 2020.

The development of solar power has taken off in recent years around the world, but particularly in the Middle East, where a day rarely goes by without long periods of the sun beating down on the desert sands.

Over the past decade, investment in solar energy has soared, with $5bn spent in 2003 leaping to $93bn today, according to the Solar GCC Alliance.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia has announced plans to produce 41gw of solar energy capacity to fuel its domestic needs by 2032, and has begun building massive solar power plants throughout the country. It is the largest proposed solar target in the world, however, it remains to be seen when production will commence.

 

Read more:

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/12010-qatar-launches-largest-solar-energy-plant-in-middle-east

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/06/qatar-solar-power-future-201468121043472545.html

Posted in Energy, Engineering, GCC, Global strategic Management, Green Energy, Green Technology, Middle east, Technology, Turnaround | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Offshore floating nuclear plant – Ideas for new reactor design


This illustration shows a possible configuration of a floating offshore nuclear plant, based on design work by Jacopo Buongiorno and others at MIT's Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Like offshore oil drilling platforms, the structure would include living quarters and a helipad for transportation to the site. Credit: Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE

This illustration shows a possible configuration of a floating offshore nuclear plant, based on design work by Jacopo Buongiorno and others at MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Like offshore oil drilling platforms, the structure would include living quarters and a helipad for transportation to the site. Credit: Jake Jurewicz/MIT-NSE

A team led by Jacopo Buongiorno, an associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company, is developing a new concept for an offshore nuclear power plant on a floating platform, much like the ones commonly used for oil and gas production.

The concept proposes a plant that can be built in a shipyard and towed on a  to a site where it can be anchored a few miles off the coast in relatively . There, it can be connected to the grid via an underwater transmission line. The plant would be unaffected by earthquakes and would also “ride out” tsunamis, which have low wave heights in deep water.

In addition to centralized construction these plants would provide easier siting and enhanced safety: Proximity to the ocean heat sink assures that reactor cooling can be maintained reliably and without external intervention, even during hypothetical accidents.

The group has launched an MIT wiki webpage to crowdsource design ideas for the new nuclear plant concept. The webpage describes the current design along with areas the researchers would like to address through crowdsourcing. These areas include any aspect of the design, strategies for dealing with ship collisions and possible underwater attacks, and proposals for any aspect that may not have been addressed by the current concept.

The group has announced a call for proposals and is encouraging students to contribute individually or in teams, and is offering prizes for winning ideas.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-offshore-nuclear-group-crowdsource-ideas.html#jCp

Posted in Engineering, Global strategic Management, Green Energy, Green Technology, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, science, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What shopping will look like in the future


Store's shopping technology: Display clothing not in piles or on racks but as one piece hanging at a time, like a gallery. Shoppers just touch their smartphones to a coded tag on the item and then select a color and size via their phone. Technology in the store keeps track of the items, and by the time a shopper is ready to try them on, they're already at the dressing room. (AP Photo/Hointer)

Store’s shopping technology: Display clothing not in piles or on racks but as one piece hanging at a time, like a gallery. Shoppers just touch their smartphones to a coded tag on the item and then select a color and size via their phone. Technology in the store keeps track of the items, and by the time a shopper is ready to try them on, they’re already at the dressing room. (AP Photo/Hointer)

When it comes to shopping, more people are skipping the stores and pulling out their smartphones and tablets. Still, there’s more on the horizon for shopping than just point-and-clicking.

No one thinks physical stores are going away permanently. But because of the frenetic pace of advances in technology and online shopping, the stores that remain will likely offer amenities and services that are more about experiences and less about selling a product. Think: Apple Inc.’s stores.

Among the things industry watchers are envisioning are holograms in dressing rooms that will allow shoppers to try on clothes without getting undressed. Their homes will be equipped with smart technology that will order light bulbs before they go dark. And they’ll be able to print out a full version of coffee cups and other products using 3-D technology in stores.

“Physical shopping will become a lot more fun because it’s going to have to be” 

MORE SERVICES

Stores of the future will be more about services, like day care, veterinary services and beauty services. Services that connect online and offline shopping could increase as well, with more drive-thru pickup and order-online, pick-up-in-store services. Checkout also will be self-service or with cashiers using computer tablets.

Some stores are taking self-service further: They display clothing not in piles or on racks but as one piece hanging at a time, like a gallery.

Shoppers just touch their smartphones to a coded tag on the item and then select a color and size on their phone. Technology in these stores keeps track of the items, and by the time a shopper is ready to try them on, they’re already at the dressing room.

If the shopper doesn’t like an item, he tosses it down a chute, which automatically removes the item from the shopper’s online shopping cart. The shopper keeps the items that he or she wants, which are purchased automatically when leaving the store, no checkout involved.

“Once shoppers get used to the process, they’re hooked”

ON-DEMAND COUPONS

Some stores like British retailer Tesco and drugstore Duane Reade now are testing beacons, Bluetooth-enabled devices that can communicate directly with your cellphone to offer discounts, direct you to a desired product in a store or enable you to pay remotely.

For example, you can walk into a drugstore where you normally buy face cream. The beacon would recognize your smartphone, connect it with past purchasing history and send you a text or email with a coupon for the cream.

“The more we know about customers … you can use promotions on not a macro level but a micro level,” says Kasey Lobaugh, chief retail innovation officer at Deloitte Consulting. A store could offer a mother 20 percent off on Mother’s Day, for example, or offer frequent buyers of paper towels a discount on bulk purchases.

3-D PRINTING

Within 10 years, 3-D printing could make a major disruption in retail, Deloitte’s Lobaugh predicts. Take a simple item like a coffee cup. Instead of producing one in China, transporting it and distributing it to retail stores, you could just download the code for the coffee cup and 3-D print it at a retail outlet or in your own home.

Life-size 3-D models of clothing that can be used in dressing rooms to instantly try on different colors of clothing or different styles: You can see 30 or 40 items of clothing realistically without trying them on.

Life-size 3-D models of clothing that can be used in dressing rooms to instantly try on different colors of clothing or different styles: You can see 30 or 40 items of clothing realistically without trying them on.

“That starts a dramatic change in terms of the structure of retail,” Lobaugh said. And while 3-D printing today is primarily plastic, Lobaugh says there are tests at places like MIT Media Lab and elsewhere with other materials, including fabric.

Right now a few stores offer rudimentary 3-D-printing services, but they are very limited. He predicts the shift will come in 10 to 20 years.

ORDER YOURSELF

Steve Yankovich, head of innovation for eBay, thinks someday buying household supplies won’t take any effort at all. He says someday a connected home could be able to use previous customer history and real-time data the house records to sense when a light bulb burns out, for example, and order a new one automatically. Or a washing machine will order more detergent when it runs low.

“A box could show up on porch with this disparate set of 10 things the connected home and eBay determined you needed to keep things running smoothly,” he says. “It’s called zero-effort commerce.”

HOLOGRAMS

EBay recently bought PhiSix, a company working on creating life-size 3-D models of clothing that can be used in dressing rooms to instantly try on different colors of clothing or different styles. You can see 30 or 40 items of clothing realistically without physically trying them on.

EBay’s Yankovich says the technology can be used in a virtual dressing room as well, showing what the clothes look like when you are, say, walking down the street or hitting a golf club.

Some companies have been testing this already. British digital agency Engage created a Virtual Style Pod that scanned shoppers and created a life-size image onto which luxury clothing from brands like Alexander McQueen and DKNY were projected. The Pod was displayed in shopping centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-future.html#jCp

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Is Tech Eroding Consumer Loyalty?


In many categories, the value of brands may be in decline.

In many categories, the value of brands may be in decline.

Is this the end of brands? Of course not. Brands still play some important roles that are not likely to go away. And in categories where prestige, status, and emotional links to brands matter a great deal, the rate of change is likely to be slow. Yet in domains where objective, specification-based quality is important—and can be assessed and communicated—even prestigious brands are not immune.

A Shift in Consumer Behavior

Consumers used to make these decisions relative to other things—a brand name, a list price, or their own past experience with a company. But today, consumers are basing more and more decisions on the absolute value of things.

Relative evaluations are based on comparisons with whatever happens to be most prominent, or placed in front of you on a store shelf or a catalog page. But absolute evaluations go beyond those constraints to use the most relevant information available about each product and feature, and they usually produce better answers.

A technological revolution is driving this shift, as various new tools help us assess the quality of products and services we’re considering. Aggregation tools, advanced search engines, reviews from other users, social media, unprecedented access to experts, and other emerging technologies—these things enable consumers to make better decisions without having to rely on relative evaluations.

Through the 20th century, the practice of marketing was largely intended to communicate values relative to reference points. But what would happen if one morning consumers woke up and were suddenly able to assess absolute values?

Planet Absolute

Let’s imagine a planet—we’ll call it planet Absolute—that is almost identical to planet Earth. There’s only one difference: Before you buy something on planet Absolute, you press a magic button and know everything you want to know about it—you know exactly how good or bad that product or service is going to be, and how you will like it after using it. Economists would call this “perfect information.”

How would people make decisions on planet Absolute?

They wouldn’t rely on a brand to determine the quality of a product. They would just press the button. They would not be too impressed by the fact that a product is made in Germany or any country with a reputation for quality. They would just press the button. They wouldn’t care as much about the fact that they loved the last model from the same company.

A state of perfect information is, of course, theoretical, and we obviously will never reach the hypothetical planet Absolute. But in more and more areas of life, we’re starting to get closer to absolute values, which make us less dependent on relative evaluations. The human brain is not changing, but a fundamental shift in our information environment is under way, with far-reaching, evolving implications for consumer decision making.

“A shift in our information environment is under way, with far-reaching implications for marketers.”

Today, review sites (whether Amazon or CNET, Yelp or Zagat) tell us about the reliability and usefulness of products, and help us predict the experience we can expect at restaurants or hotels. Through social media, it’s become almost effortless to get recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Post a question on Facebook or Twitter (“Can anyone recommend a camera?”) and you’re likely to get personalized advice from an expert in your own network.

In fact, people already use—and trust—these tools.

“Research done in 2011 found that the average shopper consults 10.4 information sources prior to purchase.”

Two issues are worth addressing here. First, can these technologies be manipulated? No doubt some companies try (and always will) to game the system—for example, by planting positive reviews. Reviews are not perfect, but one solution that consumers are not turning to is trusting marketers as the main source for information regarding quality.

The second issue: Is the wealth of information creating tremendous clutter that makes decision making even more difficult? Many observers use this concept to support their belief that brands and loyalty are more important than ever. Yet the Web provides effective tools for sorting and using the most relevant information. In most real-world buying situations, options are already well sorted. And with the steady improvement in information and sorting tools, the overload problem will become even less significant.

The cumulative effects of these technologies, and their dramatic impacts on how consumers make decisions, pose a major challenge to established ideas about marketing and related business functions. Simply put, they make influencing consumers through relative tactics and cues, such as brand and price, much harder.

The implications for consumers and businesses are enormous. First, the new reliance on absolute value means that, on average, consumers will tend to make better decisions and become less susceptible to context or framing manipulations. For businesses, it means that marketing is changing forever.

 

This article by Itamar Simonson & Emanuel Rosen, is adapted from Strategy+Business.

Full article: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00247?pg=all

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Red Pitaya – A revolutionary new open-source test and measurement instrument


Red Pitaya is a innovative single-board, open instrumentation and control platform which replaces many expensive laboratory and field instruments at a much lower price.

Red Pitaya is a palm sized open-source measurement and control tool replacing many expensive laboratory instruments.

Red Pitaya is a innovative single-board, open instrumentation and control platform which replaces many expensive laboratory and field instruments at a much lower price. Red Pitaya is a B2B product and RS has exclusivity for this product!

Agreement with RS will enable the test and measurement start-up company to deliver affordable open-source measurement instruments to the mass market; unique Red Pitaya technology provides simple user interface, accessible to all.

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, has signed an exclusive agreement with Red Pitaya, an important new contender in the test and measurement arena, to distribute the fledgling company’s first ground-breaking product: a single board, open instrumentation and control platform which replaces many expensive laboratory instruments at a price tag of less than $500.

Red Pitaya has seen incredible support from the wider engineering community following a Kickstarter funding campaign, where the target was achieved five-fold. The early interest in Red Pitaya can be attributed to the unique ecosystem approach, combining an Xilinx-based hardware platform with an open-source online repository of applications such as a waveform generator, oscilloscope and spectrum analyser.

The Red Pitaya Ecosystem consists of:

  • A credit card-sized, reconfigurable instrument that performs signal processing on an onboard Xilinx Zynq™ system-on-chip (SoC) that combines the software programmability of a dual ARM Cortex™-A9 MPCore with the hardware programmability of an FPGA, to provide unrivalled system performance. The instrument features two RF analogue I/O, four lower-bandwidth analogue I/O, as well as 16 general-purpose digital I/O ports. It supports Ethernet and includes a Micro SD slot;
  • The Bazaar cloud marketplace, a set of open-source test and measurement applications whose initial out-of-the-box instruments include an oscilloscope, a spectrum analyser, and arbitrary waveform generator, that can be accessed in most Web browsers from a tablet or personal computer;
  • The Backyard – a repository of corresponding open-source code, instructions for use, and tools for further development, enabling the engineering community to share and collaborate on new applications.

“Red Pitaya is a truly innovative idea that is set to transform the test and measurement space”

Red Pitaya aims to stimulate independence and creativity, and make instrumentation open and accessible to a much wider cross-section of users spanning enthusiasts, ham radio operators, education and start-ups, in addition to established research and industry users.

The first commercial production of the Red Pitaya instrument and applications is available exclusively from RS since 28 April 2014.

Red Pitaya is based on the GNU/Linux operating system and can be programmed at different levels using a variety of software interfaces, including: HDL, C/C++, scripting languages, and HTML-based web interfaces.

Red Pitaya is a truly innovative idea that is set to transform the test and measurement space!

 

For video and more information, visit:

http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/nodes/view/type:design-centre/slug:red-pitaya

To place an order, visit:

www.rs-online.com/redpitaya

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Want To Keep Your Team Happy? Talk To The People Who Just Quit


The real question is not how to engage your employees so they don’t leave--there is a good chance they will. The real opportunity is how you treat them when they do.

The real question is not how to engage your employees so they don’t leave–there is a good chance they will. The real opportunity is how you treat them when they do.

The real question is not how to engage your employees so they don’t leave–there is a good chance they will. The real opportunity is how you treat them when they do.

Of course you want to keep your best employees, but the truth is most of your employees–even the happy ones–are looking for another job.

According to a recent study conducted by Deloitte leaders rate engagement and retention as a top 2014 priority. And yet, lumping engagement and retention into one bucket is misleading–at least that’s what 7,350 LinkedIn members across five countries said in an exit survey.

The survey reported that 85% of the workforce is either actively looking for a job or open to talking to recruiters about relevant opportunities–even those who report being satisfied with their current jobs.

Employees contemplate daily whether to re-up with their current employer or entertain the prospect of landing a better gig.
Given this, the real question is not how to engage your employees so they don’t leave–there is a good chance they will. The real opportunity is how you treat them when they do.

An employee’s final days could be one of the most underutilized engagement levers at your disposal. People will judge their overall experience by its peak, or most intense point, and by its end.

So, what are you doing to off-board employees for a memorable end? If you want to reinvigorate and reimagine your employee engagement approach, consider your off-boarding strategy. Below are three implementation tips to consider:

1. Don’t resist the “grass is greener over there” syndrome

Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University psychology professor, found that we overestimate the impact of our emotional reactions to future events. In other words, the brain is wired to believe that the shining new job opportunity in front of us will make life much more perfect. But it will almost certainly be less exciting than we anticipated; and, it will likely fail to excite us for as long as predicted.

LinkedIn surveyed 18,000 workers in 26 countries and found that the number one reason non-active job seekers said they would be willing to head for the exit was for better compensation or benefits. If there is one thing we assess to be a surefire way to make us happier in the future, money would fallaciously reside at the top of the list.

And yet, knowing this does us no good. So, rather than try to outsmart the hard-wired habits of the human mind, why not let the star employee go? If you know the inevitable realities of inflated expectations, you also know that your time and energy are best spent letting time lapse before you try to lure him or her back.

2. Kindle meaningful memories

Ensuring a good ending doesn’t just elicit feel good memories–it also brings purpose and meaning to employees. Dan Ariely has researched meaning at work extensively, and as he shares in this TED Talk, there is nothing that kills meaning more than failing to acknowledge one’s work. According to Ariely, “Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes.”

Harvard Business School Professor Theresa Amabile conducted decade-long research that found the same effect, known as the Progress Principle. She found a pervasive engagement blind spot: making progress on meaningful work trumps all other engagement drivers.

So, if you want an employee to walk out of the door engaged, what better way than to celebrate the progress they made in their tenure? It’s never too late–nor can you ever do too much–to make somebody feel like their work matters.

3. Measure how many employees return

It is a well-retorted adage in organizations: what gets managed gets measured. An engagement strategy must realize that jobs are more fluid than ever before and so are their incumbents. While many companies have internal mobility programs, the LinkedIn study found that only 25% of departing employees said they knew of them.

Even for those who do, timing is a challenge. Employees have little patience when it comes to accelerating their growth, learning, and opportunity. And yet, just like finding your ideal mate, timing needs to be right for both parties. Organizations can’t always deliver on the same time horizon that employees desire, and vice versa.

While engaged employees may not stay, if you manage the relationship correctly, there is a good chance they will stay open to coming back. Which means your new retention measure must do more than capture voluntary turnover. It must also capture the number of boomerangs you capture.

It is true, you can only make one first impression. But it turns out the last is the one that really matters.

 

Article by Jessica Amortegui:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3029023/utilize-your-most-important-metric-your-outgoing-employees-for-better-engagement

 

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Laws and Ethics Can’t Keep Pace with Technology


Disruptive technologies pose difficult ethical questions for society

Disruptive technologies pose difficult ethical questions for society

Codes we live by, laws we follow, and computers that move too fast to care.

Many of the technologists involved in data aggregation see a benefit to civil society. Ethicists, researchers, and corporate compliance officers, by way of contrast, may see risks to privacy and civil rights from big data.

Employers can get into legal trouble if they ask interviewees about their religion, sexual preference, or political affiliation. Yet they can use social media to filter out job applicants based on their beliefs, looks, and habits. Laws forbid lenders from discriminating on the basis of race, gender, and sexuality. Yet they can refuse to give a loan to people whose Facebook friends have bad payment histories, if their work histories on LinkedIn don’t match their bios on Facebook, or if a computer algorithm judges them to be socially undesirable.

These regulatory gaps exist because laws have not kept up with advances in technology. The gaps are getting wider as technology advances ever more rapidly. And it’s not just in employment and lending—the same is happening in every domain that technology touches.

Our laws and ethical practices have evolved over centuries. Today, technology is on an exponential curve and is touching practically everyone—everywhere. Changes of a magnitude that once took centuries now happen in decades, sometimes in years.

We haven’t come to grips with what is ethical, let alone with what the laws should be, in relation to technologies such as social media. Consider the question of privacy. Our laws date back to the late 19th century.

The gaps in privacy laws have grown exponentially since then.

There is a public outcry today—as there should be—about NSA surveillance, but the breadth of that surveillance pales in comparison to the data that Google, Apple, Facebook, and legions of app developers are collecting. Our smartphones track our movements and habits. Our Web searches reveal our thoughts. With the wearable devices and medical sensors that are being connected to our smartphones, information about our physiology and health is also coming into the public domain. Where do we draw the line on what is legal—and ethical?

Today, technology can read-out your genome from a few stray cells in less than a day. But we have yet to come to a social consensus on how private medical data can be collected and shared. We don’t even know who owns an individual’s DNA data. In the U.S., no law describes who this information belongs to.

We will have similar debates about self-driving cars, drones, and robots. These too will record everything we do and will raise new legal and ethical issues. What happens when a self-driving car has a software failure and hits a pedestrian, or a drone’s camera happens to catch someone skinny-dipping in a pool or taking a shower, or a robot kills a human in self-defense?

Thomas Jefferson said in 1816, “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.”

The problem is that the human mind itself can’t keep pace with the advances that computers are enabling.

 

Edited from an article by Vivek Wadhwa. Full article:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/526401/laws-and-ethics-cant-keep-pace-with-technology/

 

Posted in Business Ethics, Engineering, Global strategic Management, internet of things, Internet security, Media, online media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Ready to Lose Control?


Swarm Intelligence relies on rigid adherence to simple rules about how immediate neighbors in a group relate to each other: If you do this, I do that.

Swarm Intelligence relies on rigid adherence to simple rules about how immediate neighbors in a group relate to each other: If you do this, I do that.

It may be the best way to improve your organisation’s performance.

Control: It’s the essence of management. We’re trained to measure inputs, throughputs, and outputs in hopes of increasing efficiency and producing desired results. In a world of linear processes, such as in the factories of the Industrial Age, that made sense. But in today’s knowledge economy, where enterprises are complex, adaptive systems, it’s counterproductive.

The real problem is confusion between control and order. Control implies centralized control and hierarchical relationships. The person with control tells others what to do and whether they are successful or not. Order, on the other hand, emerges from self-organization. There may not be anyone telling others what to do, yet things get done—often with great efficiency and effectiveness. People know what is expected of them and what they can expect of others.

But how can this be true? Mustn’t an orchestra have a conductor? A dance troupe, a choreographer? A company, a CEO?

Not necessarily. Nature abounds with examples of what is known as swarm intelligence. Termites build intricate dwellings without the benefit of set of plans or engineers with advanced degrees. Birds migrate thousands of miles in formations where the lead position rotates to optimize their collective capacity. There are no marching orders or hierarchies dictating who leads. Massive flocks of starlings engage in intricate maneuvers known as murmuration with neither collisions nor confusion. There is order without overarching control. Indeed, our obsession with control helps explain why human-designed organizations fail to achieve such beautiful synchronicity.

Swarm intelligence was first described by Gerardo Beni and Jing Wang in 1989 in the context of cellular robotic systems. It relies on rigid adherence to simple rules about how immediate neighbors in a group relate to each other: If you do this, I do that.

The leaders of an enterprise need to identify the few core rules—thoughtfully developed and rigorously tested—that set the stage for success and mitigate the risk of failure in an operational context. Then they must give managers freedom to operate in the space between the rules. Too many regulations stifle the adaptive capacity necessary in fast-moving markets; opportunities are overlooked and threats spring up as surprises.

So how can you use simple rules and swarm intelligence to boost performance in your organization?

The first step is to embrace the inherent adaptive capacity of the individuals in your organization.
Trust is central to enhancing order. How much dysfunction has been spawned in your organization because sales doesn’t trust marketing, or because finance tries to micromanage operational decisions?

The essence of the order-centric mindset is to calibrate the exercise of control in service to order. Where it adds to order, control is beneficial; where it detracts, restraint is the wiser course. Where order prevails, there is clarity around the overall objective. Freedom of action is not only possible but encouraged. There is less concern about whether this is “my project” or whether “I” get the credit than whether “we” achieve our desired outcome.

Achieving alignment within the organization and across the value chain has always been a challenge.

Order is something we all generally seek, but few of us want to be controlled. Putting order ahead of control taps into these intrinsic impulses and unleashes initiative and innovation. It simply requires the courage to give up a little control.

 

Edited from the original Article by Eric j. McNulty at:
http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Are-You-Ready-to-Lose-Control?gko=96454

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Wishing you all a Happy Easter


Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Posted in Customer service, Energy, Engineering, Global strategic Management, Green Energy, Green Technology, Lions Club, RS Components, supply Chain, Technology, Transportation, UAE | Tagged | Leave a comment

How To Leave Work At 5 P.M. And Still Get Everything Done


The people who are the most creative and efficient in their careers prioritize time away from the office.

The people who are the most creative and efficient in their careers prioritize time away from the office.

It’s a pattern with which most full-time professionals are familiar–you’re spending increasing amounts of time at your desk, but it feels like you’re getting less done. The hours stretch on, the to-do list grows, and you find yourself facing a future where you might let go of your apartment and just start keeping a toothbrush and slippers in your desk. Otherwise you’ll never get it all done—right?

Wrong.

It’s an understandable assumption. Most people feel they have too much to do at work, and the time-space continuum did not change when people started using organizational buzzwords like “multi-tasking.”

Does this mean that starting Monday morning you’ll be a fully-optimized task wizard who never sees another 6:30 p.m. in your cubicle? Probably not. But whatever your title, industry, or rank within an organization, a few conscious decisions about how you spend your time can mean not just shorter hours at the office, but better ones.

Why not start by figuring out what you’re actually doing with all of your time? It will probably surprise you.

The additional challenge of figuring out what you do all day? Morgenstern warns that time spent on modes of communication–responding to email, listening to voicemails, marathon meetings–doesn’t count. You’re only really productive when you’re engaged in the true content of your job description.

See what tasks make the short list–and eliminate the rest.

One of the biggest mistakes people make at work is putting absolutely everything–big and small, essential and inconsequential–on the to-do list. Approach that potential client! Order wraps for the reception! Label those hanging folders!

Alarm clocks aren’t just for waking up in the morning.

Don’t underestimate the power of one of the simplest tools on your smartphone–the alarm. Morgenstern says being time conscious can help you target and overcome all manner of personal foibles, from being easily distracted to not knowing when to call a task complete.

Which brings us to…

Isn’t it time you broke up with email?

When was the last time you thought, “I just wish I had more email in my life?” (Probably back when you had a handle that included the name of your favorite athlete from childhood.)
It’s not you. It’s email. Shut it down.

Plan your workdays three days in advance–including when you’ll go home.

Banking on having the time to plan your day as it’s starting is a bad idea–at that point you’re already in the trenches with the tasks flying fast.

Instead, save some time towards the end of the day to plan for tomorrow and the two following days. It will not only keep you on track during the day, you’ll have a better understanding of your workload and whether you’re in a position to step up to an additional challenge, or focus on what’s already on the docket.

When all else fails?

“Triage.”

If you’re committed to leaving work at a certain time, and a late-afternoon task arises that requires your attention but isn’t a matter of corporate life or death, you need to assess and attack within the time you have remaining–not simply commit to an evening spent in the office.

Everyone wants to be known for going that extra mile–but learning to identify when that’s truly necessary is critical. Especially because…

The best thing you can do for your life at the office is to build a dynamic life outside of it.

Whatever your work/life preferences, it’s a point on which almost everyone is in agreement: The people who are the most creative and efficient in their careers prioritize time away from the office.

“Work expands to fill the available space,” says Vanderkam, “so treat the end of the workday as something that matters.

 

Edited from an article in Forbes by Kathryn Dill. Full Article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2014/04/04/how-to-leave-work-at-5-p-m-and-still-get-everything-done/

Related Article:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/10756988/French-workers-legally-obliged-to-end-after-hours-emails.html?fb

Posted in Global strategic Management, How it works, social media, strategic management, Turnaround, Tutoring | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

UAE has role in space exploration


The UAE is positioning itself to lead the Middle East into space, lifted by investment in technology, expertise and facilities.

The UAE is positioning itself to lead the Middle East into space, lifted by investment in technology, expertise and facilities.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE will play a role in the next stage of space exploration as the industry moves from being government policy-driven to commercial development-driven, according to former American astronaut, Buzz Aldrin.

Aldrin, who was speaking at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, was one of the first men to land on the moon, along with Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

Aldrin said the UAE is showing a growing commitment to the space industry and that the country will be involved in future projects and industry developments.

Taking the lead

Aldrin reiterated throughout his address that it is time for the commercial sector to take the lead on space exploration, with the goal of reaching mars. He said that NASA might not be the right agency to exploit space exploration. However, other US agencies and the commercial entities could be.

Globally, companies such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and American-based SpaceX are investing in commercial space exploration.

Virgin Galactic is due to launch its first commercial spaceflight from Spaceport America in New Mexico later this year.

The US-based company has reportedly raised $80 million from passengers paying around $250,000 for a ticket.

Not just for the elite

On Monday, Virgin Galactic chief executive, George T. Whitesides, said that there have been discussions for Mubadala to supply parts to the commercial spacecraft fleet.

Prospective Emirati astronauts will not be the only UAE presence on board, with the spaceships sporting the logo of Abu Dhabi sponsor Aabar Investments, which has a 35 per cent stake in Virgin Galactic. Abu Dhabi government-backed Mubadala Development Company is looking at opening a spaceport to service the region.

On Monday, Virgin Galactic chief executive, George T. Whitesides, said that there have been discussions for Mubadala to supply parts to the commercial spacecraft fleet.

Earlier, Masood Sharif M. Mahmood, Yahsat chief executive, said that the UAE has nine indigenous satellites including future programmes and three homegrown satellite companies. He said Yahsat connects a billion people across the Middle East, North Africa and South West Asia.

 

Excerpt from : http://gulfnews.com/business/aviation/uae-has-role-in-space-exploration-buzz-aldrin-1.1316737

 

 

Posted in emergin markets, Engineering, GCC, Global strategic Management, Middle east, NASA, science, Technology, Transportation, UAE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Automation is bigger than you can imagine


It is likely that most of the research data you might read in relation to M2M is greatly underestimated. This truly is a revolution.

It is likely that most of the research data you might read in relation to M2M is greatly underestimated. This truly is a revolution.

There certainly is a lot of interest in the Machine to machine (M2M) market. Telstra has proudly announced it now has more than one million M2M connections, and we hear similar success stories from around the world.

But what we are seeing is only what is happening on the surface. Most of the M2M activities are taking place unnoticed and their numbers are many times greater than those being put forward by researchers and services companies.

The reason for that is that M2M – or automation as it was called then – has been under development for more than two decades. The problem, however, was that the technologies were expensive and connectivity was difficult. Both of these issues have now changed – technology has become dirt cheap and mobile operators have opened up their networks and are offering services based on costs that make M2M deployment far more affordable.

In many situations including an M2M capability in a new product or service adds only one per cent to the cost. Retrofitting, of course, is a rather different matter.

So what we now see is that many organisations that have been involved in these automation processes for many years – and who therefore have a very good understanding of what they can do with M2M – are now speeding up their deployments. These include manufacturers, the mining industry, transport organisations, infrastructure organisations and so on.

Furthermore, all new electronic devices are now M2M devices. Tens of millions of smart meters have already been deployed by the electricity industry, with literally hundreds of millions of them in the pipeline. The recent acquisition by Google of NEST, the manufacturer of smart home devices such as thermometers, will see another explosion of M2M devices.

One of the fastest growing M2M markets is that of the smartphones and the tablets. All of these devices are connected and, as we can already see with the many apps that are available, they have an enormous capacity for a wide range of M2M applications.

So, if anything, it is likely that most of the research data you might read in relation to M2M is greatly underestimated. This truly is a revolution.

The challenge now is how to best interconnect these systems. In the past systems were built around certain questions that were asked, and this formed the basis for a system that would provide the answers. This is no longer the case. These systems are now interconnected and clever people are needed to look at all that big data, see what it tells us and take it from there.

Early adopters of such connected systems report daily about ‘wow moments’ – finding out things about their organisations that they did not know, and thus enabling these organisations to be more effective and efficient. Half of the costs of M2M projects is in relation to this system integration process; in contrast 10 per cent are network costs, with applications and management split roughly equally to make up the remaining 40 per cent.

This is an excerpt from a post originally published on March 24 by Paul Buddehttp://www.buddeblog.com.au/frompaulsdesk/m2m-is-already-bigger-than-you-think/

Read more:

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865599224/Automation-rising-minimum-wage-and-educational-trends-make-it-hard-for-young-men-to-get-jobs.html

http://dailyprincetonian.com/opinion/2014/03/automation/

http://www.automationworld.com/how-system-integrators-can-help-fill-skills-gap

Posted in Electronics, Engineering, Global strategic Management, Green Technology, internet of things, robotics, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Internet of Things spark supply chain reaction?


The Internet of Things – Digitizing the Supply Chain

The Internet of Things – Digitizing the Supply Chain

Supply chain, as a business management practice, is now 30 years old, but we are just beginning. We have a bright future ahead of us if we can adapt.

Anyone that thinks that we have best practices, versus emerging practices, is not in tune with what is happening; the growth of the “internet of things” – The internet of things (IoT) is the term used to describe the growing network of physical devices that are internet connected.

Sure we have had logistics operations for centuries. No doubt about it, logistics was the difference between success and failure in many wars. (It is a litany that is too long to list here.)

But it is not about logistics. Instead, it is about the processes of source, make, sell and deliver as taken together and managed end-to-end from the customer’s customer to the supplier’s supplier. While many companies write about building end-to-end supply chains, they really are not. Instead, they are automating the enterprise.

Today, a huge increase in the number of devices making up the Internet of Things will have a significant impact on how the supply chain will operate. IoT connected devices will reach 26 billion by 2020, up from 0.9 billion in 2009 according to a report by analyst firm Gartner.

The rise of the IoT will transform supply chain to provide, “more differentiated services to customers more efficiently.” Supply chain leaders must design their processes to operate in this digital business world.

Digital marketing will benefit from increased customer data and the ability to segment audiences to a greater extent. Designers, meanwhile, will be required to find ways to embed technology into products that will enable them to communicate with other devices.

Supply chain leaders must design their processes to operate in this digital business world.

Supply chain leaders must design their processes to operate in this digital business world.

Supply chain matters. It creates economies and can save the planet. To move forward, we have to learn from the past 30 years, but we also need to unlearn some things to challenge ourselves how new technologies and processes can help us to do it better.

The future is bright, but we have to lift the shades to see the new horizon of possibilities.

 

This post is an excerpt from these related articles:

http://continuitycentral.com/news07145.html

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140325113441-446631-state-of-the-supply-chain-redefine-stale-processes

http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/internet-of-things-will-deliver-supply-chain-changes-1236384

http://www.supplychainstandard.com/Articles/4907/Essential+tool+or+science+fiction+nightmare.html

http://www.fiercemobileit.com/story/internet-things-will-transform-supply-chain-predicts-gartner/2014-03-24

Posted in Customer service, eBusiness, Electronics, Global strategic Management, online media, supply Chain, Technology, Turnaround | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Navy’s Solar Panels In Space Could Power Entire Cities


The solar panels will be made up of two types of "sandwich" module to form a one-kilometer wide satellite.

The solar panels will be made up of two types of “sandwich” module to form a one-kilometer wide satellite.

Solar panel satellites, built in space by robots that beam power down to Earth – sound like science-fiction?

Well, even the team behind the idea admit it sounds “nuts” but that’s not going to stop them trying.

US Navy scientists are developing the project which in theory could power entire cities– or military endeavours.

What the panels could look like

The solar panels will be made up of two types of “sandwich” module to form a one-kilometre wide satellite.

Each module consists of a photovoltaic panel on top to absorb the Sun’s energy, an electronics system in the middle to covert it to a radio frequency and a bottom antenna layer to beam the power back to Earth.

Dr. Paul Jaffe, a spacecraft engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), said: “`It’s hard to tell if it’s nuts until you’ve actually tried.”

“People might not associate radio waves with carrying energy, because they think of them for communications, like radio, TV, or cell phones.

The modules

Each module consists of a photovoltaic panel on top to absorb the Sun's energy, an electronics system in the middle to covert it to a radio frequency and a bottom antenna layer to beam the power back to Earth.

Each module consists of a photovoltaic panel on top to absorb the Sun’s energy, an electronics system in the middle to covert it to a radio frequency and a bottom antenna layer to beam the power back to Earth.

” They don’t think about them as carrying usable amounts of power.”

The implications of successfully developing the technology are profound. Obviously it could solve many of our energy needs in an efficient and green manner.

But it could also enable a giant lumbering war machine – like the US Navy – to conduct global operations without the constraint of transporting and refuelling traditional fuels.

When you consider the Pentagon is the world’s largest consumer of energy (excluding countries) this will be of particular interest to US military planners.

Dr. Paul Jaffe

The technology is promising and has even spawned new ways of testing materials for space conditions.

Jaffe said: “One of our key, unprecedented contributions has been testing under space-like conditions.”

Using a specialized vacuum chamber at another facility would have been too expensive, so Jaffe built one himself.

He said: “It’s cobbled together from borrowed pieces.”

The vacuum chamber is just big enough for one module. In it, Jaffe can expose the module to the simulated extreme cold of space and concentrated solar intensities (mimicked by turning on two powerful xenon lamps in the same spectrum as the sun).

By hooking the module up to a tangle of red and blue wires, he measures how well it radiates heat.

Jaffe says most solar panels orbiting with today's satellites are never tested in space-like conditions because the technology is already mature: "But if you wanted to test anything under concentrated sunlight you would need something like the simulator we've put together here."

Jaffe says most solar panels orbiting with today’s satellites are never tested in space-like conditions because the technology is already mature: “But if you wanted to test anything under concentrated sunlight you would need something like the simulator we’ve put together here.”

Jaffe says most solar panels orbiting with today’s satellites are never tested in space-like conditions because the technology is already mature: “But if you wanted to test anything under concentrated sunlight you would need something like the simulator we’ve put together here.”

Through trial and error, Jaffe has learned a lot. “The capability we’ve built up with the testing and vacuum under sun concentration is something that’s pretty unusual.

“And we’ve actually gotten a couple inquiries from people who may want to use this.”

Read more:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/18/giant-solar-panels-in-space_n_4983953.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-tech&ir=UK+Tech

Posted in Electronics, Energy, Engineering, Global strategic Management, Green Energy, Green Technology, science | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lose yourself to dance, know yourself better


Creative movement harnessing the whole body may give rise to new knowledge about management interactions.

Creative movement harnessing the whole body may give rise to new knowledge about management interactions.

Could managers gain a new kind of understanding about their interaction with colleagues and employees by ‘dancing’?

That’s the question arising from new research published this month in the International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion.

Management is usually considered a stiff and rational business, decisions made based on fiscal studies, profit margins and market forces. However, Anneli Hujala, Sanna Laulainen and Kaija Kokkonen of Department of Health and Social Management, University of Eastern Finland, in Kuopio, have studied whether creative movement (‘dance’) might improve a manager’s awareness concerning their management interaction.

The team encouraged volunteers to “dance their feelings” and videotaped them so that hidden insights and emotions might be extracted. They suggest that creative movement harnessing the whole body may give rise to new knowledge about management interactions. Most intriguingly, they suggest that a person’s dance moves might reveal unconscious and unnoticed thoughts about their life and their position in the workplace and so highlight the aesthetic and embodied dimensions of management. The researchers point out that being good at dancing is irrelevant to their research: it is simply about creative expression through music – losing oneself to dance, as it were, to borrow from a recent pop song.

They concede that they received a great deal of doubtful feedback on how applicable the method would be in ‘real life’ and how many ‘real’ managers would dare to surrender themselves to creative movement when the purpose is to research something pertaining to their professionalism. However, their volunteers, although known through personal connections to the team, were all too willing to take part in this kind of experimental study, in which ‘dance’ was used as a method, instead of a conventional research interview.

It would be interesting for any of us to test what our body, through creative movement, could tell us about how we interact with each other.

It would be interesting for any of us to test what our body, through creative movement, could tell us about how we interact with each other.

It remains to be seen whether this novel and evocative embodied research approach is more widely adopted. However, it would be interesting for any of us to test what our body, through creative movement, could tell us about how we interact with each other.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-03-lose-yourself-to-dance-know.html#jCp

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306093615.htm

Posted in Global Business, Global Management, Global strategic Management, science, strategic management, Tutoring | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Harvest Energy from Earth’s Infrared Emissions


"We’re talking about the use of physics at the nanoscale for a completely new application," says Federico Capasso, who proposes capturing planetary emissions of infrared light.

“We’re talking about the use of physics at the nanoscale for a completely new application,” says Federico Capasso, who proposes capturing planetary emissions of infrared light.

Infrared: A Renewable Energy Source? Infrared energy emitted from the Earth into space may be potentially harnessed as a renewable energy source in the future.

Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) proposed a device that would resemble a photovoltaic solar panel. But instead of capturing incoming visible light, it would generate electric power by harvesting energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space.

The researchers proposed two possible designs (one macro, one nano) for an emissive energy harvester (EEH) to harness such infrared emissions.

The first design, a thermal EEH, would generate electricity by drawing the heat of surface ambient air through a cold plate that could radiate the energy into the atmosphere, with the flow of heat generating work.

Keeping the cold plate cooler than the ambient temperature would be difficult, but this device illustrates the general principle: differences in temperature generate work, the researchers said.

“The key is in these beautiful circuit diagrams,” says Capasso. The three diode-resistor generator circuits shown have different temperature inputs. A circuit at thermal equilibrium (A) generates no current; (B) is a conventional rectifier circuit. The Harvard team proposes a twist—shown in (C).

“The key is in these beautiful circuit diagrams,” says Capasso. The three diode-resistor generator circuits shown have different temperature inputs. A circuit at thermal equilibrium (A) generates no current; (B) is a conventional rectifier circuit. The Harvard team proposes a twist—shown in (C).

The alternative design uses rectifying antennas, or rectennas, warmed by ambient air as part of a circuit that generates direct current using temperature differences between electrical components.

“Today’s technology is not sufficient to make an efficient, cost-effective, optoelectronic EEH, but we have described a number of paths that could plausibly lead there over time,” the researchers wrote.

“Now that we understand the constraints and specifications we are in a good position to work on engineering a solution.”

Read more:

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/846070.shtml#.UxVqIeOSxHM

http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/03/infared-as-a-renewable-energy-source

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2014/03/03/the-extremely-strange-solar-energy-technology-youd-be-stupid-to-ignore/

http://phys.org/news/2014-03-physicists-device-capture-energy-earth.html#jCp

Posted in Electronics, Energy, Engineering, Green Energy, Green Technology, How it works, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easier Customer Service Increases Consumer Satisfaction


Getting help with a product started to become as easy as pressing down on one of its buttons.

Getting help with a product started to become as easy as pressing down on one of its buttons.

Pushing a button for service is becoming a growing reality.

Customer service has always been critical for enterprises, and this year, more customers of smart companies will find it as easy as clicking a button. As a matter of fact, 2014 might well be called “The Year of the Easy Button.”

Take Amazon. Last year, the company added a “mayday” button to its Kindle Fire tablets. A user who pushes the button will be immediately launched into a live session with someone from the Amazon help desk, who knows all about the ins and outs of the device.

Sony offers an “assist” button in its VAIO line of computers, which takes users to a Web page designed for their specific model. Industry analysts expect more such “SOS” buttons to be included in consumer products released this year.

The form this service takes will depend on the company, the customer, and the product. But more than at any time in recent years, it will involve providing easy access to information either through self-help or through a real person at the other end, whom the customer can interact with by voice or via the Web through text chat or video engagement.

Pushing a button for service is becoming a growing reality.

Pushing a button for service is becoming a growing reality.

Many companies have moved away from live service in the past several years, believing it was too expensive. It is a false economy. Properly serviced customers are not only happier customers; they are also more willing to open their wallets. Numerous studies of Web sites that offer live chat to their customers as part of the checkout process show that average purchases from these experiences are as much as four times higher than for customers who check out on their own.

Make no mistake. Customers are not moving away from self-service tools, but instead prefer a blend of service offerings that meet their specific needs. The ultimate customer experience is one that seamlessly integrates self-service with unassisted self-service and live customer service options, all with the click of a button.

In addition to being one-button simple, the “omniservice” that will become increasingly important this year has another crucial element: Customers will be getting better access to information by finding more consistent and relevant answers, no matter which channel they use.

Customers will be getting better access to information by finding more consistent and relevant answers, no matter which channel they use.

Customers will be getting better access to information by finding more consistent and relevant answers, no matter which channel they use.

Businesses no longer need to worry about customers getting different answers, or about the quality of the support varying based on the channel over which it is being offered. This is because knowledge is increasingly being viewed as a strategic business imperative. Crowdsourcing knowledge to establish a single source of truth allows companies to scale their customer service initiatives across devices (Web, mobile, tablet) and channels (voice, email, chat, social).

Where is all this heading? To a small version of the future made famous by The Jetsons, which imagined a world in which all work was done by just pushing a button. We don’t have home robots yet, but we do have machines that let us cook dinner, wash the clothes, or do the dishes with the touch of a single finger.

Unfortunately, customer service hasn’t always kept up with product development. The good news is that this year will be remembered as the year when that finally changed, when getting help with a product started to become as easy as pressing down on one of its buttons.

By Nikhil Govindaraj

Original Article:

http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Web-Exclusives/Viewpoints/Easier-Customer-Service-Increases-Consumer-Satisfaction-94769.aspx

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Magazine Features: Overcome Multichannel Customer Service Challenges

Effective strategies start with talking to customers.

Posted in Customer service, Global strategic Management, Marketing, Media, online media, Retail, Sales, social media, strategic management, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urgent Ethical Dilemmas for Wearable Tech


Urgent Ethical Dilemmas for Wearable Technology!

Urgent Ethical Dilemmas for Wearable Technology!

Every truly disruptive technological advance leads to its own set of ethics standards

Making small talk based on information you just grabbed from the Internet is unethical because it implies that you care more about someone than you actually do.

Wearable technology is a human right: Many of us who use a wearable computer to augment our vision have come to rely on it as our normal way of seeing, understanding, and making sense of the world. As we get older, whether we become reliant on the technology through loss of natural function or merely grow further acclimated to it from many years of use, it becomes a part of our own selves in mind, body, and spirit.

These devices are not simply pieces of clothing or a variation on conventional eyewear. They have profound effects on how we see, understand, and remember the world.

As more people grow to depend on this technology in all facets of their lives (for example, as a memory aid or face recognizer), we must balance their rights with the desire to allow other people privacy and confidentiality. It is absurd to forbid people to remember things. Imagine an elderly gentleman being asked his whereabouts on a particular night, to which he replies, “I was not allowed to remember.” We can’t hold people responsible for their actions if we prevent them from doing what it takes to recall them.

Google is officially putting the users of its Glass headset on notice with a set of do’s and don’ts — not least among which is an unambiguous warning not to be “creepy or rude (aka, a “Gla**hole).” This is the first such document from Google.

DO’S

Explore the world around you.

Take advantage of the Glass voice commands.

Ask for permission.

Use screen lock.

Be an active and vocal member of the Glass Explorer Community.

DON’TS:

Glass-out.

Rock Glass while doing high-impact sports.

Wear it and expect to be ignored. .

Be creepy or rude.

Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy… In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules apply to Glass…

In places where cell phone cameras aren't allowed, the same rules apply to Glass.

In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules apply to Glass.

As wearable computers and cameras become more widespread, we will certainly need to adopt new protocols and social attitudes toward the capture and sharing of visual information and other data. But these protocols should not include discrimination against users of these valuable assistive devices.

Read more:

http://blog.laptopmag.com/wearable-tech-ethics

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2562626/Dont-creepy-act-like-glasshole-Google-release-official-etiquette-guide-smart-specs.html

http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/google-warns-glass-users-dont-be-creepy-or-rude-n33211

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2453616,00.asp

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/524661/wearable-technology-as-a-human-right/

Posted in Business Ethics, Electronics, Engineering, Google, Green Technology, Internet security, Media, online media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Mission: Impossible’ Self Destructing Electronics


Self Destructing Electronics: Mission Impossible or Not?

Self Destructing Electronics: Mission Impossible or Not?

In the old television version of “Mission Impossible,” Jim Phelps’ tape self-destructs after the voice says, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

Now if the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is successful, not only will the tape self-destruct, but the whole device will disappear.

The agency’s new Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program aims to develop a new generation of devices “capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner,” rendering the devices useless to the enemy.

developing electronic systems capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner

developing electronic systems capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner

Efforts to build degradable electronics have tended to rely on polymeric or biological materials, and that has resulted in poor electronic performance and “weak mechanical properties,” according to the agency.

“DARPA has previously demonstrated that transient electronics might be used to fight infections at surgical sites,” says Jackson. “Now, we want to develop a revolutionary new class of electronics for a variety of systems whose transience does not require submersion in water”.

The project is still a long away from being deployed in a real battle, and will require years of research.

DARPA doesn’t have the manpower or resources to develop these kinds of electronic devices by itself, and so now it’s reaching out for help from industry experts.

In the latest contract for the program, announced on January 31, DARPA provided $3.5 million to IBM for a proposal to use a radio frequency to shatter a glass coating on a silicon chip, reducing it to dust.

The Palo Alto Research Center in California received $2.1 million to build devices with dummy circuits that would be triggered to “crumble into small, sand-like particles in a fraction of a second.”

DARPA’s vanishing electronics initiative

DARPA’s vanishing electronics initiative

Defense giant BAE Systems was awarded $4.5 million on January 22 and Honeywell Corporation won a $2.5 million contract on December 3 for more “vanishing” technology research.

And DARPA announced in December a $4.7 million contract for SRI International to develop “SPECTRE” batteries designed to self-destruct.

Read more at:

http://phys.org/news/2014-02-military-funds-mission-impossible-devices.html#jCp

http://servicesangle.com/blog/2013/01/29/self-destructing-electronics-mission-impossible-or-not/

http://www.vision-systems.com/articles/2014/02/this-blog-will-self-destruct-darpa-s-vanishing-electronics-initiative.html

http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/mission-impossible-devices-self-destruct-130129.htm

http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1113066378/darpa-developing-self-destructive-devices-020714/

http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/u-s-seeks-vanishing-dissolvable-electronics/#5pDJ2CR6etezUVW8.99

Posted in Electronics, Engineering, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

World Cancer Day: A Tribute to DAD


My Loving Dad

Ibrahim Abi-Aad, My Loving Dad

“Cancer” is still one of those words that can steal your breath, ring so loudly in your ears that your surroundings go silent, and simultaneously make your mind race and time slow to a crawl. 

The disease crept into our home March 2013 when my dad was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic adenocarcinoma….

I’ll never forget the look on his face. Anger, confusion, sadness, and fear. Why did this have to happen to him? He didn’t deserve this.

Dad got four cycles of chemotherapy. The fourth cycle was probably the worst as I think the cumulative effects of the drug became apparent…. Lost all his body muscles, osteoporosis, 5 spine fractures… He was operated on 21st January for Kyphoplasty to ease the pain as morphine had no more effect… He was too weak to recover….

My dad passed away this January 23rd. It seemed really sudden, but at the same time, almost perfect timing. He stayed alive long enough to see my brother who came 2 days earlier from South Korea. I think at that moment he was finally content and happy, and he no longer felt the need to hold on. What is helping get through it though, is knowing that he is not suffering anymore, and remembering him for all the good he has done, keeps dad alive in our hearts and no person or illness can take that away.

Today, the incidence of cancer worldwide is growing at an alarming pace, and there is an urgent need to implement strategies to prevent and curb the disease, according to a report from the World Health Organization.

The eighth annual World Cancer Day is focusing on debunking the four key myths shown above. (Union for International Cancer Control )

The eighth annual World Cancer Day is focusing on debunking the four key myths shown above. (Union for International Cancer Control )

New cancer cases will skyrocket globally from an estimated 14 million in 2012 to 22 million new cases a year within the next two decades, the report says. During that same period, cancer deaths are predicted to rise from an estimated 8.2 million annually to 13 million a year.

The estimates and predictions are in a new report, from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). The project is a collaboration of more than 250 leading scientists from more than 40 countries.

There’s a need for access to effective and affordable cancer treatments in developing countries, including for childhood cancers, which would significantly reduce mortality, the report says.

The total annual cost globally of cancer was estimated to reach approximately $1.16 trillion in 2010, which is damaging the economies of even the richest countries and is way beyond the reach of developing countries, the report says.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/shareitnow/la-sh-world-cancer-day-20140204,0,849741.story#ixzz2sQqDC0Wf

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Is Wrong with Your Business Model?


How do you get the why right?

How do you get the why right?

Do not adjust your computer screen—that’s not a typo in the headline. Your instinct may be to change that why to a what, but why is actually the right question for leaders to ask themselves about their business models. It’s this distinction between why and what that makes all the difference.

The essential questions leaders must ask themselves and challenge their teams with are all why questions: Why would a customer want to do business with us? Why would top talent want to come to work with us, and contribute their best to our efforts? Why would suppliers want to become our long-term strategic partners? Why would communities welcome our facilities? Why would institutional investors want to trust their money to us?

what answer to any of these questions can disguise itself as a why: Customers choose us because we are the low-cost supplier. Talent is attracted to us because we offer a good salary. Suppliers had best stay in line or we’ll find others. Communities want the jobs. And investors will put their cash wherever they can get the best return.

How do you get the why right? One way is to challenge yourself to articulate how your company is going to change the world for the better. Not just increase revenues, but actually Change The World.

A second way to find the why is to begin with your values and work your way there. Almost every organization has a lofty statement of its values, but for too many firms, these values don’t actually guide daily operations. Ask yourself how each of your values is manifest for your various stakeholders. How can it be made more integral and more apparent in your products, services, and even your internal processes?

Smart suppliers find ways to add value to their customers’ businesses beyond selling them things.”

The lessons are these: First, once you get the why right, the what will follow. Second, the what will change, but the why should transcend numerous strategic and tactical shifts. And, finally, the what is often easier to measure, but the why is more important to assess.

We do business in a turbulent world. Some firms, however, find a way to succeed amidst the tumult. They inspire and cultivate stakeholder loyalty. Look closely and you’ll see they do it by spending more time focusing on the why of their business than the what. Make sure you know why is right with your business model.

(An excerpt from an article by Eric J. McNulty). The full article:

http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Why-Is-Wrong-with-Your-Business-Model?gko=02569

Posted in Business Analysis, Business Ethics, Customer service, Global strategic Management, How it works, Retail, supply Chain, Turnaround | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Your home will soon be a giant iPhone


Google may have a future selling robots to consumers and devices for your smart home, with yet another acquisition paving the way for the internet giant's new vision.

Google may have a future selling robots to consumers and devices for your smart home, with yet another acquisition paving the way for the internet giant’s new vision.

“Smartphones are increasingly the remote controls for our lives,” says Jeff Kagan, a technology analyst. “They will control everything in your house and car.”

Google’s GOOG -0.49%  purchase of home automation company Nest Labs gives the world’s biggest search engine a foothold in people’s homes. But experts say Internet companies are already tracking the habits of Americans at home — and it’s only just begun.

For decades, futurists have been predicting the era of the “smart” home, where you don’t need to be home to lock your doors, dim your lights or adjust your thermostats. But except for the homes of the wealthy and a few hobbyists, the smart home has been a dream of the distant future. The necessary gadgets have been too expensive and too difficult to configure, and there have been few standards to ensure that the various pieces would work together.

“You can expect to see more companies attempting to do this in coming years, tracking nearly every movement in your home,” says Neil Strother, senior research analyst at Navigant Research. There is already a small army of apps doing just that. SmartThings, a free app for iOS and Android, monitors light switches, unlocked doors and car keys.

But new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week suggest that the smart home may soon be within reach of the average American.

Instead of having to spend thousands of dollars to have a custom installer put in a home automation system, consumers now can get one for $30 to $50 a month from their broadband provider.

WunderBar is a set of wireless, detachable sensors and smart modules which can be monitored and controlled from your smartphone via the Internet.

WunderBar is a set of wireless, detachable sensors and smart modules which can be monitored and controlled from your smartphone via the Internet.

“We’re close,” said Chet Geschickter, an analyst who covers home automation services for Gartner.

Home automation company Vivint , bought for $2 billion by Blackstone Capital Partners in 2012, says it services 800,000 customers in North America. Its free iOS app can act as a motion detector, remote-controlled security system and electronic door lock. AT&T’s Digital Life offers plans from $4.99 per month that track water leaks, energy usage, unlocked doors and home security cameras. Tech company Belkin even launched asmartphone-controlled slow cooker .

How does this affect your privacy? What companies learn when you check in at a restaurant on Facebook or plug your location into Google Maps pales in comparison to the wealth of data that they’ll glean from (and possibly use against) consumers in the not-so distant future, says Adi Kamdar, an activist at the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation, a consumer advocacy group focusing on online privacy. “Connected cars may report unsafe driving, raising or canceling your insurance,” he says. Similarly, a home insurance company might be interested in a smoke detector that goes off several times a day. “During a divorce, your spouse subpoenas a thermostat company for records to prove that you set low temperatures in the house, keeping your kids too cold.

Diapers, monitors, thermostats, fridges, lights—whatever you want to imagine in the realm of everyday objects around your house may one day be a core part of the Internet of Things

Diapers, monitors, thermostats, fridges, lights—whatever you want to imagine in the realm of everyday objects around your house may one day be a core part of the Internet of Things

Is that something you want to even deal with?

Does potential use of consumer data take into account data hacking? “What happens if someone gets into your phone?” says Rick Singer, CEO of GreatApps.com. Or into your smart meter?

For more info:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-home-will-become-one-big-iphone-2014-01-20?reflink=MW_GoogleNews&google_editors_picks=true

http://phys.org/news/2014-01-chocolate-like-app-tools.html#jCp

Posted in Electronics, Engineering, Facebook, Global strategic Management, Green Energy, Green Technology, Internet security, online media, robotics, social media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ship-before-you-buy system! (Amazon patent)


Items shipped before an order has occurred deliverable to geographical area but not to any delivery address. (Credit: Amazon España por dentro image by Álvaro Ibáñez, CC BY 2.0)

Items shipped before an order has occurred deliverable to geographical area but not to any delivery address. (Credit: Amazon España por dentro image by Álvaro Ibáñez, CC BY 2.0)

Amazon has been awarded a patent for a new system that ships potential purchases to your area even before you’ve ordered them, based on your purchase history.

Amazon believes that, with your purchase history, it can predict your buying habits before you do — and can have your package in transit before you’ve even made an order. The company has been awarded a patent for a system designed to have your items in your hands at record speeds.

Called “Method and system for anticipatory package shipping“, the patent describes a system whereby the company anticipates your buying habits and sends your packages to the closest delivery hub, waiting for the order to arrive, or, in some cases, even shipping directly to your door.

To anticipate what you might order, Amazon will look at your purchase history and browsing patterns, as well as surveys and questionnaires you’ve completed, to determine your interests, cross-referencing to predict what items you’re likely to buy. Then, once interest has been determined, that item can then be offered at a personalised discount.

ship-before-you-buy system. (Credit Amazon)

ship-before-you-buy system. (Credit Amazon)

There is, of course, margin for error — for example, a package that gets shipped to the customer without the customer ever placing an order. In those cases, Amazon — rather than incurring the cost of having the item returned — may offer the item as a gift to valuable customers.

“In some instances, the package may be delivered to a potentially interested customer as a gift rather than incurring the cost of returning or redirecting the package,” the patent reads. “For example, if a given customer is particularly valued (according to past ordering history, appealing demographic profile, etc), delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill.”

As we have already seen in the case of the Kindle e-reader, Amazon is willing to operate at a loss if it builds customer loyalty and repeat business. However, we have also seen that the company may be willing to overstate its capabilities in order to garner free publicity — so we’re not quite willing to bank on the arrival of anticipatory shipping just yet.

Original Article by Michelle Starr @:

http://www.cnet.com.au/amazon-wins-patent-for-ship-before-you-buy-system-339346456.htm

Posted in Customer service, eBusiness, Global strategic Management, How it works, Marketing, Retail, supply Chain, Technology, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hang up or hold on? Study helps call centers know when patience is running out


Puts you on hold forever, hopes you'll hang up!

Puts you on hold forever, hopes you’ll hang up!

Call centers can sometimes try our patience, especially when we are in a hurry, anxious for an answer to a problem, and all we get is a recorded voice telling us to press a number depending on our requirements, only to find we then have to push another number, and then another….

An efficient and seamless call center that works rapidly makes everybody happier

An efficient and seamless call center that works rapidly makes everybody happier

However, customer service cannot be packaged to simply sit on a shelf at our beck and call whenever we need it; everybody has to “get in line” with help from technical support, banks, credit card companies and stores.

Understanding caller patience is vital

For people who work in call centers, understanding caller patience is vital.

Professoors Che-Lin Su and Baris Ata from theUniversity of Chicago Booth School of Businesscarried out a study which was published in the journal Management Science. They say they offer a more accurate approach to modeling caller patience, which should reduce customer waiting time and will help businesses.

Su, a professor of operations management said: “Knowing when a person decides to hang up or hang on is vital to streamlining call center operations, minimizing caller frustration and maximizing each customer service encounter.”

Call centers can design better systems, or improve the ones already in use if they can predict caller behavior.

Understanding how callers behave and what triggers specific reactions is especially important when firms plan changes in their business, or launch a major marketing campaign that produces a surge in inquiries.

Bad call centers can undermine advertising campaigns

Ata, also a professor of operations management, said: “It’s no use spending millions on advertising a new product, service or event if your call center can’t cope with the customer response.”

More precisely predicting caller behavior can help call centers design better systems going forward as well as fine-tune those already in place; particularly important when companies plan changes in their business or major marketing promotions that produce a surge of calls.

More precisely predicting caller behavior can help call centers design better systems going forward as well as fine-tune those already in place; particularly important when companies plan changes in their business or major marketing promotions that produce a surge of calls.

An efficient and seamless call center that works rapidly makes everybody happier, including customers who stay calmer, phone agents who become less agitated, and business gets done more efficiently.

The authors add that these insights may also help businesses negotiate smarter contracts for outsourcing these services.

Ata explains: “Since the model produces more realistic results for how long a caller will stay on the line, it enables a more precise estimate for the number of callers who can be served per hour, day and month.”

The authors gathered and analyzed caller behavior data from 1.3 million calls made to a bank’s customer service center.

They tested their new model to determine whether previous research assumptions that caller patience never changes held true, even if the center improved call priority and routing systems.

Su explained: “The previous models used assumptions of caller abandonment that were easy to apply and analyze, but didn’t provide a reasonable picture of people’s patience.”

Caller patience is often overestimated

They ran four scenarios that simulated changes in call priority on both models, and found that the older-style assumptions were probably misleading, because they produce caller-abandonment predictions that were highly inaccurate.

In many cases, assumptions had overestimated how long a caller is willing to stay on the line waiting, or underestimated how much it would take for a caller to hang up.

Your call is important to us, please stay on line until your call is no longer important to you!

Your call is important to us, please stay on line until your call is no longer important to you!

Su concluded: “When a call center alters its discipline to improve speed and service, add agents, or change call routing and priority, we theorized those things should influence caller patience – and our model shows that such improvements do indeed make a difference in whether people decide to hang up or hang on.”

Source: University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Journal Reference:

  1. Zeynep Akşin, Barış Ata, Seyed Morteza Emadi, Che-Lin Su.Structural Estimation of Callers’ Delay Sensitivity in Call CentersManagement Science, 2013; 59 (12): 2727 DOI:10.1287/mnsc.2013.1730
Posted in Customer service, emergin markets, Global strategic Management, Marketing, Sales, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ultra-flexible chip can be wrapped around a hair


Scientists in Switzerland said Tuesday they can create electronic chips so flexible they can be wrapped around a human hair.

Scientists in Switzerland said Tuesday they can create electronic chips so flexible they can be wrapped around a human hair.

Scientists in Switzerland said Tuesday they can create electronic chips so flexible they can be wrapped around a human hair.

 (Excerpt from Phys.org and world news)

The technique entails building an electronic circuit on top of a sandwich of polyvinyl layers perched on a hard base.

The wafer is then placed in water, which dissolves two of the polyvinyl layers and causes the base to be released, sinking to the bottom of the lab dish.

Ultraflexible electronics can be achieved by dissolving a sacrificial polymer layer and releasing a thin polymer film from a host substrate. Credit: Salvatore et al

Ultraflexible electronics can be achieved by dissolving a sacrificial polymer layer and releasing a thin polymer film from a host substrate. Credit: Salvatore et al

What remains is a circuit embedded on a light, transparent non-soluble polymer film called parylene that is just one micrometre, or a millionth of a metre, thick.

Substrate wrapped around hairs. Credit: Salvatore et al

Substrate wrapped around hairs. Credit: Salvatore et al

The transistors continue to work even when wrapped around a human hair, which is about 50 micrometres thick, according to the research published in the journal Nature Communications.

The ultra-bendable chip may have medical uses, and has already been tested on an artificial eye in the lab.

The use of transparent materials enable the realization of transparent devices which can be transferred on to plastic contact lenses and can be used to monitor intra-ocular pressure for glaucoma. Credit: Salvatore et al

The use of transparent materials enable the realization of transparent devices which can be transferred on to plastic contact lenses and can be used to monitor intra-ocular pressure for glaucoma. Credit: Salvatore et al

It was added to a contact lens to provide a monitor for glaucoma, in which pressure builds up dangerously in the eyeball, said the team.

The invention also has many other potential outlets, from flexible solar cells to wearable bio-sensors, they said.

Devices containing tiny LEDs and other electronics — and narrower than the eye of a needle — can be injected deep inside the brain.

Devices containing tiny LEDs and other electronics — and narrower than the eye of a needle — can be injected deep inside the brain.

The electronics “can be transferred on any object, surface and on biological tissues like human skin and plant leaves,” according to the study led by Giovanni Salvatore at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETZ).

Rogers and colleagues’ first electronic “skin” placed electronic components on a thin, elastic polymer sheet that could be applied like a temporary tattoo.

Rogers and colleagues’ first electronic “skin” placed electronic components on a thin, elastic polymer sheet that could be applied like a temporary tattoo.

 
Posted in Electronics, Engineering, Green Technology, How it works, Technology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Santa: Consumers Prefer DIY Products


DesignSpark Mechanical unleashes your ability to create. Free download: www.designspark.com/mechanical

DesignSpark Mechanical unleashes your ability to create. Free download: http://www.designspark.com/mechanical

Bottom Line: Consumers value a product more highly when they make it themselves—but only if the assembly procedure is structured in a way that allows them to make creative decisions throughout the process. 

Still looking for that special last-minute holiday gift for your friends or family members? You might want to give them something they can make themselves. A new study suggests that under the right conditions, consumers value a product more when they have customized and assembled it themselves. But this DIY favorability boost arises only when the assembly procedure emphasizes consumers’ autonomous, real-time decision making.

This excerpt from an article by Matt Palmquist in Strategy+Business will be my last post for this year. My next post will be on Wednesday 08 January 2014.  I convey to all of you my season’s greetings with all good wishes for the new year 2014″ – Georges Abi-Aad.

In theory, consumers should want to put their own spin on a product but avoid the time-consuming process of actually making it. And yet, in a variety of contexts, consumers seem happy to open the instruction manual, pull up their sleeves, and get down to work. And they may even pay more for the privilege.

But to really get consumers to love a DIY product, companies have to do a little more than just provide an instruction booklet and an Allen wrench. The more creative effort people put into their product, the more they would be willing to pay for the kit—but only when customization and assembly occurred simultaneously.

“The more creative effort people put into a project, the more they are willing to pay for it.”

Product customization and assembly can create value for companies, but the conditions have to be carefully manipulated to gain the approval of DIYers.

Marketers and managers are encouraged in any product category in which consumers have the ability to customize their options (think of coordinating clothing or purchasing electronics) to emphasize creative choices alongside practical considerations.

Sectors that are normally associated with supreme effort rather than inspiration could especially benefit. For example, gyms should allow members to incorporate their own choices into their live training sessions, a subtle way to let consumers creatively “build” their own experience.

Even the cooking industry could learn something from these findings. At first glance, a cookbook might seem like a strange place for DIY projects. But choices in ingredients, cooking techniques, tools, and plating all give a consumer creative control over the process. Indeed, instruction manuals could be improved immediately if they were formatted to emphasize a consumer’s creative choices throughout the assembly procedure, and not just at the beginning.

And if companies can appropriately structure consumers’ customized assembly tasks, they “should be able to charge consumers for the opportunity to assemble the customizable product,” the authors write. In other words, it’s a win-win. Companies can create less, charge more, and give consumers the satisfaction of a job well imagined and well done.

Source: A Lot of Work or a Work of Art: How the Structure of a Customized Assembly Task Determines the Utility Derived from Assembly Effort, Eva C. Buechel (University of Miami) and Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida), Journal of Consumer Research, Feb. 2014, vol. 40

Original article:

http://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Dear-Santa-Consumers-Prefer-DIY-Products?gko=a72a8

Posted in Customer service, Electronics, Global strategic Management, Marketing, Retail, Sales, supply Chain, Technology, Tutoring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When It Comes to Customer Service, Don’t Say No


The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

The Effortless Experience:
Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

The mind is a powerful thing. But almost all our mental processing takes place unconsciously; neuroscience suggests that as few as 5 percent of a person’s decisions are based on conscious, rational thought. Whether companies realize it or not, they’re constantly delivering clues that influence their customers’ unconscious thinking—shaping their impressions and ultimately, their actions.  

Consider customer service. Chances are you have bailed on a company you’d been satisfied with for years because of a bad experience with its customer service department. But chances are you would have stayed with the company if its customer service reps had just made it easier for you to place your order or resolve your problem.

This doesn’t mean that customers expect to be swept off their feet by customer service reps. What they really want, explain Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi, is an “effortless” experience.

You can’t always say yes to every customer request. It would be great if you could, but there are many situations in which the thing a customer wants and the thing you have to give are not the same. Then what?

Well, of course, the opposite of yes is…no. So let’s consider the word “no” for a moment. How do you react when you hear that word? For most of us, “no” is a trigger that sets in motion an entire chain of negative emotions. Anger, outrage, argumentation.

That’s a lot of bad outcomes just because of one word. So, of course, it only makes sense that you’d want your people to avoid using it as much as possible. Reps need to find a way to both be truthful (because the answer in many cases is, unfortunately, still no), but in a way that doesn’t trigger the negative emotional reaction and all the bad outcomes that come along with it. This is where the use of positive language can make such a big difference….

So if you could just teach your reps how to use a simple response substitution when these situations came up, creating a positive conversation that moves forward rather than backward –  instead of saying, “We don’t have that item in stock right now,” you could say “We will have availability on [date] and I can get that out to you immediately once it comes in.”

It’s a seemingly tiny little thing, but think about how these situations become amplified over thousands and thousands of customer interactions every day, mitigating the corrosive effect of negativity and its impact on customer loyalty. It all adds up and has a meaningful impact on customers.

Again, this isn’t just about being nice to customers. Nor is it just about using positive words. It is to be trained to react in the most common situations where we are very likely to be entering into the high-effort zone, since saying no (as well as words like “can’t,” “won’t,” “don’t,” etc.) is such a huge effort trigger….

Just because there’s nothing you can do, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.

—Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi

Original article :

http://www.strategy-business.com/article/ac00055?pg=all

 

Posted in Customer service, Global strategic Management, strategic management, Turnaround, Tutoring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RS Components “Special Award” 2013


Emerging Markets Conference 2013

Emerging Markets Conference 2013

RS Components Distributors conference 2013 held in Dubai with the following theme: The journey to an… “effortless customer experience“.

A special reward was presented to me by RS Components at the end of the conference;

Outstanding Individual Contribution & Leadership 2013 MENA Region

Outstanding Individual Contribution & Leadership 2013 MENA Region

I am deeply honored to have been selected by RS Components for this special award. I am one of the leaders who have made their marks in RS Components business. I am sincerely grateful for the recognition from the RS Components Emerging Markets Channel which initiated the whole event.

I wouldn’t be here getting this award without the blood, sweat, and efforts of all my brilliant teams in Turkey, UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Lebanon.

I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

Thank you very much.

 

Posted in Customer service, Electronics, emergin markets, Engineering, Global strategic Management, RS Components, supply Chain | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Digital Simulator Allows You To Taste Virtual Food


It doesn't quite work like that

It doesn’t quite work like that

A new digital simulator can produce tastes right on a person’s tongue. The simulator, developed by a team at the National University of Singapore led by Nimesha Ranasinghe, uses an electrode to reproduce all four taste categories: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. (An excerpt from an article in Wall Street Insanity by Katherine Pilnick).

The recently discovered fifth taste, umami, has not yet been added.  Also, the simulator doesn’t simulate smell and texture, important components of taste, although the team is working on ways to develop those features

The simulator works by sending an alternating current through an electrode touching the tip of the tongue. Combined with small changes in temperature, a person’s taste receptors are “fooled” into tasting a designated food.

The device is noninvasive but a bit large. According to New Scientist, Ranasinghe hopes that a redesign will allow users to keep their mouths almost closed while maintaining contact.

Applications Of Virtual Tasting

The applications of taste simulators are seemingly endless. The simulator’s informational video suggests commercial applications in games and other media. “The system will allow players to sample food in video games,” the narrator says. “Taste could also be used as a reward system: a sweet treat could be delivered for completing a level, while a blast of bitterness could be produced for a low score.”

Ranasinghe has larger dreams for the invention, speaking of healthcare applications. “People with diabetes might be able to use the taste synthesizer to simulate sweet sensations without harming their actual blood sugar levels,” he said on New Scientist. “Cancer patients could use it to improve or regenerate a diminished sense of taste during chemotherapy.”

Now, Ranasinghe’s team is working on other, similar devices. A so-called digital lollipop would give the experience of a continuous sugary taste without any actual consumption. The team is also working on TOIP, taste over internet protocol. The system would allow the easy transmission of data required to recreate different tastes.

Digital taste Simulator

Digital taste Simulator

Original article:

http://wallstreetinsanity.com/digital-simulator-may-soon-allow-you-to-taste-virtual-food/

Posted in eBusiness, Electronics, Engineering, How it works, Marketing, Media, online media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kyocera Floats Mega Solar Power Plant in Japan


Kyocera floats mega solar power plant in Japan. Image courtesy of Kyocera

Kyocera floats mega solar power plant in Japan.
Image courtesy of Kyocera

Japanese electronics manufacturer Kyocera has recently unveiled a 70 megawatt solar power plant in Kagoshima prefecture, now becoming japan’s largest utility-scale facility.

Following the devastating earthquake and tsunami off the coast of japan in 2011 — a disaster which brought monumental nuclear accidents to affected cities — the country has had an increasing motivation to consider and exercise solar energy production.

A restructured fit program launched by the government stipulated the requirement of local utilities to purchase 100% of the power generated from solar installations of more than 10 kilowatts for a period of 20 years, a promotion for the use of renewable energy.

The major project that began in July 2012 has finally begun operation on November 1st, 2013.

‘Kagoshima Nanatsujima mega solar power plant’ sits off the coast of southern Japan, overlooking the ocean bay and grand Sakurajima volcano. Occupying 1.27 million square meters — roughly the same area as 27 baseball stadiums — the massive plant is comprised of 290,000 arranged panels.

An adjacent tour facility provides visitors, students, and tourists with expansive panoramas of the facility from a circular viewing room and relevant information about environmental issues, a stimulus in the understanding of renewable energy resources for the public sphere.

1.27 million square meters — roughly the same area as 27 baseball stadiums

1.27 million square meters — roughly the same area as 27 baseball stadiums

http://www.designboom.com/technology/kyocera-floats-mega-solar-power-plant-in-japan-11-18-2013/

Posted in Electronics, Energy, Engineering, Green Energy, Green Technology, Technology, Turnaround | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Wearable Bionic Suite Allows Paralyzed to Walk (w/ Video)


Iron Man Suite?

Iron Man Suite?

What if certain patients could get a bionic pick-up without undergoing the pain and lengthy recovery of surgery? University of Cincinnati researchers are working on just that idea, with the start of an exoskeleton to support people who – through age or injury – are limited in their movement.

Gaurav Mukherjee, a UC master’s student in mechanical engineering in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), will present the interdisciplinary research on Nov. 15, at the International Human-Centered Robotics Symposium, which will be held at UC’s Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center.

Working with a senior student design team in , Mukherjee and Grant Schaffner, an assistant professor in UC’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, designed and built a spring-assisted leg exoskeleton that can help people stand and sit. Further research partnerships with Shikha Chaganti, a master’s degree student in computer science, and her advisor, Anca K. Ralescu, a UC professor of computer science, are examining how a brain-computer interface can interpret how to operate the exoskeleton with what the user wants to do.

Mukherjee says that a  analysis study has been underway in the lab – using markers on the body to build a virtual model. The results of the experiment can help researchers design the exoskeleton to supplement the capability of the user.

Additionally, researchers are exploring muscle activity to produce a suit that will work in cooperation with the natural movement of the patient/user, rather than forcing a predetermined motion.

Mukherjee says the exoskeleton could hold promise for the nation’s aging Baby Boomer population, adding that as many as 3 million American senior citizens currently require some form of nursing supervision. The interdisciplinary research is hoped to one day benefit geriatric patients, patients affected by stroke and paraplegics, in gaining independence in movement.

The exoskeleton research is a collaboration with the College of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems and the UC College of Nursing.

Future research will involve further development of the  in building supports to enable movement of ankles and hips, as well as developing better fluidity in movement.
(Article by Dawn Fuller in Phys.Org, provided by University of Cincinnati)
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-block-exoskeleton-independence-elderly-video.html#jCp

 

Posted in Electronics, Engineering, How it works, robotics, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laser Technology to Communicate Between Planets


Laser Technology to Communicate Between Planets

Laser Technology to Communicate Between Planets

Since the dawn of the space age, NASA probes have beamed data home to Earth using radio-frequency communication. But that’s all set to change soon.

The space agency is working hard to develop laser-based space communications systems, which officials say are key to ensuring rapid and accurate transmission of information from spacecraft around the solar system. The agency’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration mission (LCRD), which is slated to lift off in December 2017.

Communicating with Deep Space: How it Works

Demonstrating Laser Communications

LCRD will launch to geosynchronous orbit as a hosted payload on a commercial communications satellite developed by the company Space Systems/Loral.

The experiment’s two optical modules will use lasers to send information to two ground stations, one in California and one in New Mexico, at rates of up to 1.25 gigabytes per second. LCRD will operate for at least two years, with the aim of demonstrating the long-term viability of a space-based laser communications system.

nasa-lunar-laser-communications-demonstration-infographic

LLCD has already set a record, using a pulsed laser beam to send data 239,000 miles from lunar orbit to Earth at a rate of 622 megabits per second. The previous record from the moon had been 150 megabits per second, achieved by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), said Bernard Edwards, chief communications systems engineer at the space agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The LLCD system is also more efficient than the radio-frequency approach employed by LRO and other spacecraft, requiring significantly less mass and power.

Excerpt from an article by Mike Wall, senior writer for Space.com

Original article:

http://mashable.com/2013/11/06/nasa-laser-technology/

Posted in Electronics, Engineering, How it works, NASA, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment
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