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How IoT will change the way you work

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What will a world with many Internet-connected devices look like and how will it change the workplace? YUNUS SCHEEPERS, chief information officer of Nashua, has some answers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been described as the anchor of the 21st century industrial revolution that will connect everything around us as well as increase productivity and efficiency. Predictions estimate the growth of the IoT will reach 50 billion objects by 2020.

IoT describes a growing network of connected variables which include sensors, processors and chips that have the ability to interact with other devices on a network. The computers, smart phones and printers we use have the capacity but now we’re starting to see televisions, cars and industries being able to receive data or being controlled remotely.

Soon every device you own – and nearly every object you can imagine – will be connected to the Internet. Whether it’s through your phone, wearable tech or everyday household object. Imagine a smart office which sets the optimal workplace temperature throughout the day – that’s soon becoming a reality. No more fights about whether it’s too hot or too cold.

Businesses should be the top adopters of IoT solutions to improve the bottom line by lowering operating costs, increasing productivity and expanding into new markets or developing new product offerings.

Change is coming to the office building too and it’s geared towards worker and customer convenience. IoT allows more data for your business than you currently track. This opens the door to learn more in-depth metrics on consumers and their behaviours, your employees and how they work, and even details on how the business operates. IoT means more software and data management systems to manage and implement this information.

Nashua has implemented IoT in its printing software with a device called Pro-Act Nashua.  It sits in all Nashua’s printers and picks up any abnormal behaviour before something happens to the printer and alerts the user that there will be an issue.

Everything faster

IoT means faster inventory management systems. Having all your equipment devices and products into the same network allows for efficiency – instantly updating numbers is at your disposal and tapping into metrics can be done easily form anywhere.

Interconnected devices will include everything from robots to cars and the public transportation system. This means shorter commute times for employees and faster deliveries. You get everything you need faster, but on the one hand, customers will expect and demand faster and more efficient service.

Machines and equipment in industries will operate smoother and maintenance routines become easier. The bottom line is that less money will be spent to produce inventory ad most of your costs will likely decrease.

IoT will change how we do business. Remote work will become even more feasible. Thanks to cloud-hosted software in devices like tablets and our smartphones is already an option for many professionals. With IoT all devices are manageable on one network – given just a tablet and an internet connection you’ll be able to manage an entire store, team or production line.

The downside of IoT integration

Tech and device management can be a complex task. For IoT to work at its optimum point devices need to be updated with the latest software and connected to the network. This will be expensive and demanding. Some industries will also disappear or radically change when IoT becomes mainstream. Some might even become obsolete, for example the logistics and delivery industry will become completely automated.

Businesses need to pay close attention to how their industries develop and be prepared for major changes. There will be sectors that will start to be higher demand allowing for more profitability and entry to new entrepreneurs. It’s important to watch how this new tech develops and get your business to gradually adapt to changes and reap the benefits of IoT.

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Jaguar drives dictionary definition

Jaguar is calling for the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries to update their online definition of the word ‘car’

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Jaguar is spearheading a campaign for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and Oxford Dictionaries (OxfordDictionaries.com) to change their official online definitions of the word ‘car’.

The I-PACE, Jaguar’s all-electric performance SUV, is the 2019 World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year. However, strictly speaking, the zero-emission vehicle isn’t defined as a car.

The OED, the principal historical dictionary of the English language, defines a ‘car’ in its online dictionary as: ‘a road vehicle powered by a motor (usually an internal combustion engine) designed to carry a driver and a small number of passengers, and usually having two front and two rear wheels, esp. for private, commercial, or leisure use’.

Whereas the current definition of a ‘car’ on Oxford Dictionaries.com, a collection of dictionary websites produced by Oxford University Press (OUP), the publishing house of the University of Oxford, is: ‘A road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people.’

To remedy the situation, Jaguar has submitted a formal application to the OED and OxfordDictionaries.com to have the definitions updated to include additional powertrains, including electric vehicles (EV).

David Browne, head of Jaguar Land Rover’s naming committee, said: “A lot of time and thought is put into the name of any new vehicle or technology to ensure it is consumer friendly, so it’s surprising to see that the definition of the car is a little outdated. We are therefore inviting the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionaries to update its online classification to reflect the shift from traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) towards more sustainable powertrains.”

The Oxford English Dictionary is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words – past and present – from across the English-speaking world.

Jaguar unveiled the I-PACE, its first all-electric vehicle, last year to deliver sustainable sports car performance, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology and five-seat SUV practicality.

Featuring a state-of-the-art 90kWh lithium-ion battery, two Jaguar-designed motors and a bespoke aluminium structure, the I-PACE is capable of 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds and a range of up to 470km (WLTP).

While both the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries review the application, Jaguar is encouraging people to get behind the campaign by asking how the word ‘car’ should be defined. Contact Jaguar on TwitterFacebook and Instagram using #RedefineTheCar with your thoughts.

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How Internet blocks visually impaired

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Picture: Amelie-Benoist / Getty Images

A pervasive “digital divide” inhibits blind people from accessing the Internet, according to a study conducted by Nucleus Research for Deque Systems, an accessibility software company specialising in digital equality. This results in visits to websites being abandoned, further resulting in a missed market opportunity for the websites in question.

The study, which conducted in-depth interviews with 73 U.S. adults who are blind or have severe visual impairments, revealed that two-thirds of the Internet transactions initiated by people with vision impairments end in abandonment because the websites they visit aren’t accessible enough. Ninety percent of those surveyed said they regularly call a site’s customer service to report inaccessibility and have no choice but to visit another, more accessible site to make the transaction.

The Nucleus study also scanned hundreds of websites in the e-commerce, news and information and government categories and found that 70 percent had certain “critical blockers” that rendered them inaccessible to visually impaired users.

“Besides the moral dilemma and legal risk, businesses with inaccessible websites are missing a huge revenue opportunity by ignoring an untapped market,” says Preety Kumar, CEO of Deque Systems. “Among internet retailers specifically, two-thirds of the top ten online retailers had serious accessibility issues, meaning they are leaving $6.9 billion in potential North American e-commerce revenues on the table.”

Web accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to independently gather information, complete transactions, or communicate on the Internet. Most visually impaired Internet users rely on assistive technologies like screen readers or screen magnifiers to render sites perceivable and operable. However, these assistive technologies require that websites be built with accessibility in mind and optimized to interface with assistive technology, in order to convey information in an accurate and understandable manner.

Critical accessibility blockers can vary across industries. In e-commerce, problems include issues like missing form and button labels (thereby making forms or the “checkout” button invisible without context). Amazon, Best Buy and Target were found to be accessibility leaders in this space. Additionally, the study found:

  • Eight out of ten news sites had significant accessibility issues.
  • Seven out of ten blind persons reported being unable to access information and services through government websites, including Medicare’s site.
  • Fewer than one in three websites have clear contact information or instructions for blind persons to seek help if they encounter accessibility issues, meaning many have low levels of success in reporting and solving these problems.

“A focus on accessibility needs to be a core part of the website design and development process,” continues Kumar. “Considering accessibility as early as the conception phase, and proactively building and testing sites for accessibility as they move towards production, is significantly more effective than remediating it later, helping organizations save significant time and resources while avoiding unnecessary customer grievances.”

To download the report, visit: https://accessibility.deque.com/nucleus-accessibility-research-2019

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