Connect with us

Technology

Some businesses hanging up on the desk phone

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

Toronto marketing specialist Elaina Falcone laughs when she thinks back to about a year ago when executives at her company started walking around the office having phone conversations on headsets, resembling drive-thru employees.

“I would be like, ‘Can I take your order?’ while walking by them,” recalls Falcone, who works at Accessible Media Inc., a not-for-profit media company aimed at Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.

“Literally imagine a McDonald’s worker with a little mouthpiece in the front.”

Such headsets are now omnipresent at the company and many others in Canada as more organizations get rid of their cumbersome desktop phones in favour of cloud-based and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-powered service on wireless devices.

The days of cranking one’s neck to the side to hold a receiver in place, and using up precious desk space with a bulky phone and spiral cord, are quickly fading as businesses switch over to VoIP and cloud-based providers like RingCentral and Microsoft’s Skype for Business.

Desk phones are going the way of the dodo as more employees work from home or remotely, and companies replace assigned workstations with shared offices known as agile workspaces, where anyone can sit anywhere.

Many employees use laptops and smartphones and want that mobility and flexibility, says Falcone, noting it felt redundant having a personal cellphone, a work one and a desk phone.

Wireless switch

According to an online survey of 400 small, medium and large companies released in July by IDC Canada, close to 90 per cent of Canadian firms have wireless phones and 49 per cent of their employees have substituted their landline phones entirely with wireless devices.

Many employees use laptops and smartphones and want that mobility and flexibility, says Falcone, noting it felt redundant having a personal cellphone, a work one and a desk phone. (Kichiro Sato/Associated Press)

“It’s almost like the last resort is a paperweight, tethered desk phone,” says Lawrence Surtees, vice-president of communications research at IDC Canada, which does market research on information and communications technology.

“The non-smartphone is a dying thing.”

Surtees say smaller businesses in Canada went wireless earlier than larger ones, which are now making the switchover due to cost, convenience, increasing trust in cloud computing, and an overall rise in cord-cutting in daily life.

Saving money is another key reason companies say they’re making the switch.

That’s what happened when AMI added Skype for Business to its Microsoft Office 365 subscription, says Kevin Sharpen, who oversaw the project as manager of application development.

“We probably saved over 60 per cent of our phone costs,” says Sharpen, adding employees were able to keep the same work number.

“A lot of that is in long-distance costs, because on a regular phone system you’re paying long-distance. But when you’re talking on VoIP or a hybrid of that, those costs are significantly decreased.”

Cost-saving changes

It’s also more financially feasible for organizations to run all of their communications through one interface that makes data more accessible and faster, says Rebeka Inoue, partner alliance manager AVI-SPL, a global workplace technology services provider.

“With the advent of the cloud, organizations were able to reduce a lot of overhead and expenses by moving everything into the cloud and having people like Microsoft manage that cloud and make sure it’s more secure than what most companies had on presence,” says Inoue, whose company transitioned to Skype for Business two years ago.

“We’re already paying for [Microsoft] licences, so it’s very inexpensive to just add on the Skype for Business licence.”

Sharpen says those with accessibility needs often prefer a system like Skype as it’s easier for them to use and they can incorporate it with special devices, like custom-made headsets.

With Skype for Business, employees can integrate all of their Office products, record a call, notify others of their location and calendars, and collaborate through methods including video chat, instant messages and screen-sharing.

“It’s made the conversations or the meetings maybe a little bit more dynamic, because we have the option to share,” says Falcone.

100% reversal unlikely

For those who still prefer desk phones, some companies that have switched to VoIP systems still have a few of them kicking around, usually web-powered ones.

Surtees says the wireless trend can only go so far, noting it would be hard for certain institutions such as those related to health care and government to go wireless.

“I could see hypothetically wireless substitution in business getting up around 75 per cent or so, maybe a little touch more,” said Surtees. “But I think it would hit a ceiling.”

Falcone says she loves the portability she now has and rarely gets work-related voicemails anymore, because she’s usually reachable on her cellphone.

But being so accessible can also feel like you’re taking your work home with you, she adds.   

“Sometimes it will be 10 o’clock  and I’ll see the little red ‘1’ on my work email or my Skype and I’m like, ‘Ugh,”‘ Falcone says. “It makes it hard not to check.”

Phone connections can also be weaker on a VoIP-powered service versus a landline.

And some employees are slower to adopt the wireless system.

“People freaked out,” Falcone admits of the switchover. “They were used to the security of their desk phone. A lot of our older staff I think took it harder than others.

“The thing I still struggle with is like, ‘Where’s my headset to answer this phone?’ Just dumb stuff like that.

“But I have to say after a couple of months everyone adapted and there’s literally no difference now. The first couple of weeks we definitely had laughs of VPs having headsets on their heads and then that was it.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Technology

Top 5 Analytics Trends That Are Shaping The Future

Editor

Published

on

By

Digital transformation is increasingly becoming the focus for many CIOs around the world today—with analytics playing a fundamental role in driving the future of the digital economy.

While data is important to every business, it is necessary for businesses to have a firm grip on data analytics to allow them transform raw pieces of data into important insights. However, unlike the current trends in business intelligence—which is centred around data visualization—the future of data analytics would encompass a more contextual experience.

“The known data analytics development cycle is described in stages: from descriptive (what happened) to diagnostic (why did it happen), to discovery (what can we learn from it), to predictive (what is likely to happen), and, finally, to prescriptive analytics (what action is the best to take),” said Maurice op het Veld is a partner at KPMG Advisory in a report.

“Another way of looking at this is that data analytics initially “supported” the decision-making process but is now enabling “better” decisions than we can make on our own.”

Here are some of the current trends that arealready shaping the future of data analytics in individuals and businesses.

  1. Growth in mobile devices

With the number of mobile devices expanding to include watches, digital personal assistants, smartphones, smart glasses, in-car displays, to even video gaming systems, the final consumption plays a key role on the level of impact analytics can deliver.

Previously, most information consumers accessed were on a computer with sufficient room to view tables, charts and graphs filled with data, now, most consumers require information delivered in a format well optimized for whatever device they are currently viewing it on.

Therefore, the content must be personalized to fit the features of the user’s device and not just the user alone.

  1. Continuous Analytics

More and more businesses are relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) and their respective streaming data—which in turn shortens the time it takes to capture, analyze and react to the information gathered. Therefore, while analytics programspreviously were termed successful when results were delivered within days or weeks of processing, the future of analytics is bound to drastically reduce this benchmark to hours, minutes, seconds—and even milliseconds.

“All devices will be connected and exchange data within the “Internet of Things” and deliver enormous sets of data. Sensor data like location, weather, health, error messages, machine data, etc. will enable diagnostic and predictive analytics capabilities,” noted Maurice.

“We will be able to predict when machines will break down and plan maintenance repairs before it happens. Not only will this be cheaper, as you do not have to exchange supplies when it is not yet needed, but you can also increase uptime.”

  1. Augmented Data Preparation

During the process of data preparation, machine learning automation will begin to augment data profiling and data quality, enrichment, modelling, cataloguing and metadata development.

Newer techniques would include supervised, unsupervised and reinforcement learning which is bound to enhance the entire data preparation process. In contrast to previous processes—which depended on rule-based approach to data transformation—this current trend would involve advanced machine learning processes that would evolve based on recent data to become more precise at responding to changes in data.

  1. Augmented Data Discovery

Combined with the advancement in data preparation, a lot of these newer algorithms now allow information consumers to visualize and obtain relevant information within the data with more ease. Enhancements such as automatically revealing clusters, links, exceptions, correlation and predictions with pieces of data, eliminate the need for end users to build data models or write algorithms themselves.

This new form of augmented data discovery will lead to an increase in the number of citizen data scientist—which include information users who, with the aid of augmented assistance can now identify and respond to various patterns in data faster and a more distributed model.

  1. AugmentedData Science

It is important to note that the rise of citizen data scientist will not in any way eliminate the need for a data scientist who gathers and analyze data to discover profitable opportunities for the growth of a business. However, as these data scientists give room for citizen data scientists to perform the easier tasks, their overall analysis becomes more challenging and equally valuable to the business.

As time goes by, machine learning would be applied in other areas such as feature and model selection. This would free up some of the tasks performed by data scientist and allow them focus on the most important part of their job, which is to identify specific patterns in the data that can potentially transform business operations and ultimately increase revenue.

Continue Reading

Technology

Waterloo drone-maker Aeryon Labs bought by U.S. company for $265M

Editor

Published

on

By

[ad_1]

Waterloo’s Aeryon Labs has been bought by Oregon-based FLIR Systems Inc. for $256 million, or $200 million US.

The acquisition was announced Monday. 

Dave Kroetsch, co-founder and chief technology officer of Aeryon Labs, says not much will change in the foreseeable future.

“The Waterloo operations of Aeryon Labs will actually continue as they did yesterday with manufacturing, engineering and all the functions staying intact in Waterloo and ultimately, we see growing,” he said.

“The business here is very valuable to FLIR and our ability to sell internationally is a key piece of keeping these components of the business here in Canada.”

Aeroyn Labs builds high-performance drones that are sold to a variety of customers including military, police services and commercial businesses. The drones can provide high-resolution images for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The drones already include cameras and thermal technology from FLIR. Jim Cannon, president and CEO of FLIR Systems, said acquiring Aeryon Labs is part of the company’s strategy to move beyond sensors “to the development of complete solutions that save lives and livelihoods.”

‘A piece of a bigger solution’

Kroetsch said this is a good way for the company to grow into something bigger.

“We see the business evolving in much the direction our business has been headed over the last couple of years. And that’s moving beyond the drone as a product in and of itself as a drone as a piece of a bigger solution,” he said.

For example, FLIR bought a drone company that builds smaller drones that look like little helicopters.

“We can imagine integrating those with our drones, perhaps having ours carry their drones and drop them off,” he said.

FLIR also does border security systems, which Kroetsch says could use the drones to allow border agents to look over a hill where there have been issues.

“We see the opportunity there as something that we never could have done on our own but being involved with and part of a larger company that’s already providing these solutions today gives us access not only to these great applications, but also to some fantastic technologies,” he said.

Aeryon Labs has done a lot of work during emergency disasters, including in Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit in 2014, Ecuador after an earthquake in 2016 and the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Technology

Inuvik infrastructure may not be ready for climate change, says study

Editor

Published

on

By

[ad_1]

The Arctic is expected to get warmer and wetter by the end of this century and new research says that could mean trouble for infrastructure in Inuvik.

The study from Global Water Futures looked at how climate change could impact Havipak Creek — which crosses the Dempster Highway in Inuvik, N.W.T. — and it predicts some major water changes.

“They were quite distressing,” John Pomeroy, director of Global Water Futures and the study’s lead author, said of the findings.

Researchers used a climate model and a hydrological model to predict future weather and climate patterns in the region. They also looked at data gathered from 1960 to the present. 

If greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate — which Pomeroy said they are on track to do — the study projects the region will be 6.1 C warmer by 2099 and precipitation, particularly rain, will increase by almost 40 per cent.

The study also found that the spring flood will be earlier and twice as large, and the permafrost will thaw an additional 25 centimetres. While the soil is expected to be wetter early in the summer, the study said it will be drier in late summer, meaning a higher risk of wildfires.

John Pomeroy is the director of Global Water Futures. (Erin Collins/CBC)

“The model’s painting kind of a different world than we’re living in right now for the Mackenzie Delta region,” Pomeroy said.

He noted these changes are not only expected for Havipak Creek, but also for “many, many creeks along the northern part of the Dempster [Highway].”

Pomeroy said the deeper permafrost thaw and a bigger spring flood could pose challenges for buildings, roads, culverts and crossings in the area that were designed with the 20th century climate in mind.

He said the projected growth of the snowpack and the spring flood are “of grave concern because that’s what washes out the Dempster [Highway] and damages infrastructure in the area.”

Culverts and bridges may have to be adjusted to allow room for greater stream flows, Pomeroy said. And building foundations that are dependent upon the ground staying frozen will have to be reinforced or redesigned.

Pomeroy said the ultimate solution is for humans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This study is the future we’re heading for, but it’s not the future we necessarily have if we can find a way to reduce those gases,” he said.  

“It’d be far smarter to get those emissions under control than to pay the terrible expenses for infrastructure and endangered safety of humans and destroyed ecosystems.”

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending