Monthly Archives: August 2016

Will Computer Hardware and Technological Innovation

If you will recall back in Ronald Reagan’s day as President, there was a showdown between his administration and the air traffic control workers. He warned them not to strike or they’d be fired – they did, and they were. End of story, or is it. That is to say will history repeat in the future if we bring forth Artificial Intelligent Computers, New Computer Hardware, and the third phase of NextGen ATC equipment and technologies? I believe so, and thus, we were having a conversation about these potential future eventualities at our Think Tank recently.

Consider if you will some of our comments here – think about what Troy Laclaire is saying and some of the points of contention I bring up, and I’d like to start this dialogue out with reminding folks that anytime human beings develop better tools to do their jobs, there will be fewer jobs to do, thus, some folks will be let go. The jobs that remain will be lower skill levels and much higher skill levels but those in the middle will disappear.

Now then, when it comes to the latest and greatest air traffic control systems being introduced one must ask why will we need humans in the process. After all, most of the near misses or runway incursions are due to human error, either air traffic controllers or the pilots themselves. So, let’s remove them from the situation. Yes, both the pilots and the controllers. But today, let’s talk about air traffic controllers, as future UAVs will surely tell all the pilots; “You’re Fired!” but that’s for another article.

If we use the recording and data from the best air traffic controllers to program the AI system, then the controllers will inevitably be worked out of a job right? So, I said jokingly; Train the computers, and let the Air Traffic Control B.A.S.E. jump off the tower to grow some balls? But seriously, what will we use all those old control towers for, as the computers will most likely be underground in air-conditioned rooms with full electronic security, no one goes in or out unless they have clearance as the official IT personnel for the system?

Now then, we may as well some of those control towers for something, but they are many stories tall, so should we dismantle them instead? Troy notes; “If this type of system was put in place, you wouldn’t have a need really for a control tower, and could put everyone below ground.” Right, which was another point, namely; what to use them for – restaurants, observation decks, tours, lounges, bars? BASE Jumping locations? Sniper towers to get the bad guys – what?

Troy wonders; “well, there are many different uses you can use the current towers for. Heck, why not setup homeless shelters or lease the building out to companies to use as remote data centers since they already have communications capabilities?” And really he’s onto something there, it’s a great place for antennas, and all those control towers are fully wired.

Well, out with the old computer hardware, in with the new, but indeed, this does change everything, fewer jobs, less human error, and more systems. Please consider all this.

Technology Innovation

No matter what innovations your organization has decided to pursue, and regardless of the innovation strategy you’re following, there will always come a point where innovators need to deal with their information technology cousins.

Technology is at the center of most production and productivity in many industries, from those dominated by industrial age economics to the emerging innovation economy companies that are presently leading the charge to recovery.

As a result, information technology can be considered either a necessary evil that prevents things getting done or, alternatively, a massive enabler of competitive advantage and worker productivity. Perspectives vary depending on the way an IT organization deals with change on a day to day basis.

No matter the perception of the information technology group, there is a key thing that those responsible for innovation will find very hard to avoid: the extreme emphasis that most IT professionals place on minimizing change. There are excellent reasons they do this, though it presents significant difficulties for innovators, whose whole role is to create valuable, productive change.

In information technology organizations, there will likely be change teams, in fact, whose sole role in life is to make it as hard as possible to change anything. They will rationalize their existence using lines such as “we are here to protect service” or “up-time is our number one priority”. And for those times when change is impossible to avoid there will be a number of gates and governance processes in places designed to make things as difficult as possible. At least, from the perspective of innovators, that is.

For most innovation teams, rigorous focus on the disciplines of innovation management are a positive way to manage the technologists in organizations. They provide tools and processes which are able to demonstrate to IT professionals that the changes the innovators want to do are in both the interests of the organization, and, more often than not, in the interests of IT as well.

Modern Technological Innovations

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Imagine being able to care for your aging parent using your cellphone. New technology is breaking ground to do just that. In a poll, 75% of the seniors asked admitted that they would rather use whatever means available if it meant they could stay in their own homes longer. In addition, the enormous influx of retirees getting ready to hit their golden years is going to push hospital and nursing facility care expenses higher and higher due to increased demand. This generation of seniors is also the first that is comfortable using the new technologies and won’t hesitate to take the opportunities that present themselves.

Many industries are taking part in the research and development of this new elder care system. These include hospitals and doctors, insurance companies, technology developers, home builders, and wireless companies. It is estimated that the new equipment could generate $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion making it a worthwhile pursuit for both businesses and elderly patients.

This type of innovative technology is meant to help seniors deal with the rising cost of healthcare and the fact that insurance companies are increasingly opposed to allowing patients to remain in the hospital when they suffer from maladies that can be both monitored and treated while they are living in their own homes. The health care seniors receive is expected to measurably improve with up-to-the-minute care. However, the situation isn’t all win-win. Concerns include worries about maintaining patient privacy, compensation for doctors, and the effect on the funding of nursing homes are high on the list of snafus everyone involved is working on.

The new devices are being created making it easy for seniors to monitor their weight, heart rate, and blood pressure readings from home. Information is then uploaded to a database which will be read by the doctor. Any changes can alert the doctor to possible complications which will allow him to change medications, request and appointment, or dispatch an ambulance as he feels is necessary.

The federal government, grappling with the problem of underfunding for Medicare programs are heartily in favor of the developing technology. They estimate that more than $25 million is spent every year on just the readmission of patients to hospitals and nursing facilities and believe that costs could be cut by 75% if these people could be monitored at home instead of having to be admitted to hospitals so often.

It’s amazing what new technology can do, and this sounds like a system that needs to be explored further and expanded to cover all seniors with medical issues who are still living in their own homes. Instead of rising medical costs collapsing the Medicare system, we could look forward to lowered costs and fewer claims.

Innovation for Business

There is a lot of information around at the current time regarding innovative technology, but the biggest headline has to be the growth of cloud-based IT models, a transforming and accessible way for small businesses and new businesses to access excellent IT technology that has previously been exclusive to large businesses and organisations. Cloud technologies are simply those IT models that can be developed and accessed online making more traditional and expensive IT options a thing of the past.

Top of the range IT solutions in the traditional sense, come at a price and for smaller businesses they are not a viable option. In the current economic market and a ‘spending cut’ phenomena spreading all through the country businesses are reluctant to spend excessively for IT. The downside to this reluctance is that companies can become stuck in the mud with out-dated traditional IT software that keeps them firmly fixed in traditional methods of business operation.

Now is the time for smaller businesses to realise the advantages of utilising online business systems. For instance, online accounting software is an affordable technology, requiring an inexpensive monthly installment to secure a high-end IT technology that keeps business operating smoothly. If people need convincing then the interest that Microsoft have, in developing cloud based software packages should go some way to reassure business owners. There is currently excellent cloud, online accounting systems available – so there really is no reason to hang around. As new businesses grow a simple online company accounting system is a must. Companies that do hesitate run the risk of being left behind and seeing companies utilising online IT and accounting systems, prosper.

It is also exceptionally important to realise that during times of recession many people will be thinking about striking out on their own business venture, identifying gaps in the market and benefiting from those gaps using savings or redundancy payments to fund new initiatives. Online IT may not be at the forefront of their minds, neither may recording the company accounts other than in terms of more traditional methods of book-keeping. It is essential that the profile of online technology and particularly online accounting software is heightened to ensure success for these new small businesses.

Even people striking up on their own and not thinking of employing others should take the initiative and seriously consider online IT solutions and business accounting technologies. Software that is accessible 24/7 from any computer with an Internet connection, peace of mind regarding security in terms of login and backups and online up to the minute correct data (no need for time consuming software updates and downloads) has got to be ‘great for business’.

BASDA (Business Application Software Developers Association) Special Interests Group is also backing and recommending cloud initiatives and there is lots of advice around regarding the successful setting up of a new business, including information from the Federation of Small Businesses, Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue together with cloud accounting software suppliers and developers. Keep up to speed with the developments and do not get left behind under grey, rain-filled clouds – the future should be a white cloud with a silver lining.