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  • How to Use Technology to Streamline Communications in Your Office

    Technology is a thing that always keeps evolving. It's present in every sphere of our lives. Nowadays, most modern offices invest in the latest technologies, but the question is: “Do they know how to use that technology to streamline communications?”

    Employees-using-portable-computer-technology

     Technology is a means to maintain streamlined communication in the office / Credit: Pixabay

    The truth is, workplace communication is not only a requirement but a vital one for every company. Since different employees have different ways of thinking and different characteristics, it's hard to develop a consistent workplace communication.

    With all this in mind, we can safely say that communication is crucial to the success of any business. It's necessary to maintain collaboration between all office segments. Since technology allows for more effective communication, we'll go through how to use technology to streamline communication in your office.

    Voice Chat Applications

    When a problem occurs in your office or you need to reach an employee immediately, you certainly won't use a corded phone. Today, voice chat applications can easily be downloaded and installed on all laptops, desktop computers, and mobile devices. That way, all users can keep their professional communication on their own personal devices.

    These applications are an extremely valuable communication tool that will ensure that all employees are always on the line when they need to be. On top of all that, these applications use an internet connection, which makes them a cost-efficient way to improve communication in your office.

    When it comes to top five voice chat apps that we warmly recommend, our selection would be:

    1. Slack – perfect for companies with remote employees, cloud-based, chat room organized by direct messaging, private groups and topics, members, groups and files are completely searchable, available for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and web.

    2. Bria Teams – streamline communication into one place, numerous great features such as team messaging, integrated file sharing, screen sharing, voice calls, HD video calls and presence, a cost-efficient solution to keeping all your professional communication in one place, unlimited messages, centralized management portal, no hidden charges.

    3. Basecamp – perfect for sharing files and collaboration, allows consolidation of client relations, project management, and internal communication, streamlined solution for both collaboration and internal communication needs, keep all communication in one place.

    4. DialMyCalls – send mass notification via SMS text message or phone call, perfect for reminding employees of upcoming due dates, meetings and events, allows staff to use a custom vanity phone number or two-way text messaging.

    5. RedBooth – a task tracking app, features chat software, instant communication between employees.

    Instant Messaging

    Instant messaging is even better when you need an immediate answer. Running an office today requires a lot of concentration, so thinking about trivial things such as reaching your employees when you need them the most only makes it worse.

    Instant messaging allows every employee to establish communication in mere seconds. Just like with the voice chat applications, instant messaging applications work on any mobile device, laptop, and desktop.

    Here are our Pros and Cons of Instant Messaging :

    • Pros:
      • Cost-effective communication
      • Real time communication
      • Building a team
      • Convenience
      • Reduction of spam messages
      • Archiving
    • Cons:
      • Lack of security
      • Distraction
      • Source of misunderstandings 
      • Compatibility
      • Viruses

    Shared Cloud Applications

    Perhaps one of the most widely used technologies for streamlining communication in the business industry. It allows you to use cloud storage, which is extremely useful for easy collaboration on multiple projects.

    Cloud-based suites like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive make collaboration much easier, putting every piece of information just a few clicks away.

    Applications like these can significantly improve productivity within an office. They allow teams to work on documents in real-time and the process of updating is automatic.

    On top of all that, every application and piece of data can be easily accessed on any device. This results in increased connectivity and flexibility, which makes both collaboration and communication much easier.

    The benefits of using shared cloud applications for your business are numerous but the main benefits are:

    1. Shared cloud applications make remote work possible

    2. The ability to work on multiple devices

    3. An increased chance to gain a competitive edge

    4. Reduced need to use a desk phone system

    5. Increased efficiency in collaboration between employees

    Automation

    Just like any other workflow process, communication can be automated. In fact, thanks to natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, most companies already use fully automated and streamlined communication. Before technology gave the business industry the ability to automate most processes, people had to struggle to maintain communication. It took days to get out information like maintenance invoices and so on.

    Automation allows companies to unify all their processes and streamline communication across all offices and departments, drastically improving the company efficiency. It helps companies amplify their communication which results in better project management, effective people tracking, improved collaboration, automatic updates and document management, among other important things.

    Automation makes communication more efficient thus allowing each department to keep track of every business process within one company. Technology like robotic process automation helps countless offices improve their operational efficiency by eliminating repetition and taking over routine tasks. By doing so, the employees can shift their focus on higher-value processes.

    For example, automation is very useful when you need to answer hundreds of emails per day. Sending automated messages can take this repetition out of your daily routine. Some say that they don't want to rely on robots that much, but these people probably aren’t aware of the benefits of robot automation.

    Companies like Robotiq have incredible solutions that could help every company achieve their professional goals by using this extraordinary and innovative technology. Head to Robotiq.com to learn more about the numerous benefits that you can reap from harnessing the power of automation.

    In fact, if you want to bring your communication to a higher level, using a Robotiq solution might just be the best way to do it. After all, robot IQ is on the rise and they are becoming smarter with each passing day. Almost every industry in the world is now relying on artificial intelligence, chatbots, and similar technology to stay ahead of their competition.

    Examine Your Current Communication Technology

    Every business today depends on communication technology and if you haven't examined your current communication technology, here is the opportunity to do so.

    There are so many excellent solutions to take into your consideration. From advanced meeting room solutions to cloud-based storage, there are plenty of tools and ways you can use them to improve communication in your office. If your main communication happens in meetings, investing in a good collaboration or presentation software might be a good way to go. Enabling cross-platform content and rapid sharing will also help. Rapid sharing is extremely important today when almost all work is performed digitally.

    While it might be a bit hard to get all the departments of your business on a single platform, investing in cross-platform technology will significantly help you improve communication. Such solutions enable all employees to share information, regardless of the current platform in use.

    With so many tech business solutions on the market today, it's hard to know which one is right for you. That's why the best thing to do is make a strategy and do some research before you act. Still, keep in mind that automation is always a good answer to any business-related problem today. Most business problems derive from an increased amount of work and similar issues. You don't need to hire more people, spend tons of cash on training them and so on. All you need is a proper technology solution. With that in mind, keep your radar on robotic solutions and monitor how this technology will continue to revolutionize the world we live in.

    How do you feel about robots becoming more common in the business industries of the world? Let us know what you think about this in the comments.

    Read more »
  • What's New In Robotics?  15.11.2019

    Good morning. In this week's news mix: Veo Robotics releases FreeMove, Cummins announces cobot expansion and researchers unveil a cobot system for haptic feedback in VR.  Elsewhere, Curiosity Rover discovers oxygen surprise in Martian atmosphere, Princeton develops a robotic nuclear inspector, ingenious Japanese bot climbs ladders and much more!

    Cobots & manufacturing

    Veo Robotics officially released an SDK for its FreeMove software on Tuesday.  Designed to enable human-robot collaboration using traditional industrial robots, FreeMove enables traditional bots to detect humans and slow down its operating speed in response.  (H/T The Robot Report)

    Via Veo Robotics:

    Customers who would like to begin designing and evaluating manufacturing process steps incorporating FreeMove today can purchase the FreeMove Application Development Kit [...] a version of FreeMove running on non-safety-ratable hardware that must be used with redundant safety systems for development purposes. The resulting designs can be implemented in production with the full Veo FreeMove system.

    Following the successful deployment of cobots across its global manufacturing facilities from India to the United Kingdom, Cummins has announced plans to more than double the number of collaborative robots it uses by the end of 2019. 

    0_485_735_0_70_https _www.autocarpro.in_userfiles_fe22a490-1517-42fb-b397-c7e2f67f1df0Cummins' Darlington Engine Plant in the UK is using this cobot for quality
    improvements and managing parts proliferation.  Credit: Cummins

    Via Autocar Professional

    “As I walk through our diverse plants today, I see opportunities for applying collaborative robot technology every few feet,” said Elizabeth Hoegeman, Cummins Executive Director – Global Manufacturing Engineering. “Our vision is to steadily invest in cobots over the next several years until we exhaust viable applications.”

    We've seen cobots used in all sorts of applications over recent years, but video released this week showcases an intriguing new use case --providing high-fidelity haptic feedback and shape rendering in virtual reality environments... 

     

    Elsewhere...

    NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered fluctuations in the levels of atmospheric oxygen on Mars that researchers are "struggling to explain."  A study published Tuesday in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets found that oxygen rose by a peak increase of 30% in the spring and summer before dropping back to normal levels in the fall.  Scientists aren't quite sure why. 

    191024162059-curiosity-rover-1011-exlarge-169A selfie taken by the Curiosity rover in October 2019.  Credit: NASA

    Via CNN:

    "The fact that the oxygen behavior isn't perfectly repeatable every season makes us think that it's not an issue that has to do with atmospheric dynamics. It has to be some chemical source and sink (of elements into the soil) that we can't yet account for," [said Melissa Trainer, planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center].

    A team led by Dr. Vitor Mendes Pereira, a neurosurgeon at the Toronto Western Hospital, has completed an in-human robotic-assisted neurovascular intervention for the first time using a medical assistant bot developed by Corindus

    corindus-vascular-robotics-officeCredit: Corindus

    ZDNet reports:

    The implications for this robotic brain surgery are huge, heralding a transformation of the way surgeons treat things like aneurysm and stroke. That will particularly be the case once 5G becomes a reality, opening up the possibility that surgeons will be able operate these robots remotely, potentially bringing unprecedented access to care worldwide.

    Researchers from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Princeton University have created a prototype robot that can identify sources of nuclear radiation and determine whether said sources have been shielded to avoid detection.  The developers hope that their remote-controlled prototype, which was unveiled this week, will eventually led to the creation of a mobile, fully autonomous neutron detecting swarm.

    2.-Group-photoThe new neutron-detecting bot with its developers.  Credit: Elle Starkman, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Via Princeton News:

    The now-calibrated “inspector bot” consists of a cylinder of polyethylene plastic containing three neutron counters set 120 degrees apart and mounted on a robot with specialized wheels that enable it to move in any direction. The detectors, designed by Goldston and Moritz Kütt, a former postdoctoral Princeton researcher, provides both high sensitivity to the energy of detected neutrons and the direction from which neutrons are coming. Low energy could indicate shielding.

    • This technology will transform you into Superman (Norwegian SciTech News)
    • Drones will swarm our skies when these 3 things happen (c|net)
    • The robots are coming, faster than ever (Boston Globe)
    • Fun New Paper Says We Should Make Machines Freak Out About Their Own Mortality (ScienceAlert)
    • Gaming manufacturer to roll out functional table games-dealing robot (CalvinAyre)

    Come back next week for more of the latest robotics news! Until then, please enjoy...

    Five vids for Friday

    1.  From soaring drones to sliding snake bots, robotic first responders are increasingly being used to reduce risk and improve human efficiency in emergency scenarios.  New video from freethink (accompanying article here) provides a compelling overview of developments in the field. 

    2.  The progress of 3-D printing has been hampered by slow printing times and limitations on the number of printable materials that can be combined at once.  This week, researchers unveiled a new design that enables speedy switching between different materials and improved printing times.  (H/T Nature)

    3.  Researchers at Tokyo Metropolitan University unveiled a lightweight, ladder-climbing quadruped bot this week.  The bot's legs are topped off with ingenious grippers that enable it to autonomously climb vertical handrail-free ladders fully.  (H/T IEEE Spectrum)

    4.  Mark Roberts Motion Control, specialists in motion control, automation, broadcast robotics and remote image capture, released gorgeous video this week showing two of its 'Cinebots' playing tennis.  

    5.  Drones are being tested to help fight malaria on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania.  The drone sprays rice fields --common breeding grounds for malaria-spreading mosquitos-- as part of the government of Zanzibar's goal of eliminating malaria by 2023.  (H/T AfricaNews)

    Read more »
  • 15 Advantages of Producing Locally with Collaborative Robots

    Want to produce locally? Offshoring is not the competitive advantage it used to be. Here are 15 reasons that businesses are moving operations back home.

    Coupling-IO_Robotiq-products

    The trend for offshoring that has dominated the last 30 years now seems to be waning. Changes in the economic and political situation — plus changing consumer priorities — mean that more and more businesses are looking to "reshore" their manufacturing processes.

    Collaborative robot automation is a great way to make products locally.

    Why would you want to move your operations "back home"? (especially if you went to all the trouble of offshoring in the first place)

    Here are 15 compelling advantages for choosing to produce locally.

    1. Shorter lead times

    The Harvard Businesses Review has dubbed this time we are living in as "The Age of Personalization." Customized products are becoming the norm which means that short lead times are suddenly a vital competitive advantage. Producing locally allows you to reduce lead times to a minimum in a way that offshoring cannot.

    2. Increased traceability

    According to a 2019 report, 90% of UK manufacturers said that lack of traceability is a risk, both to brand value and even to human life (when allergens in food are concerned). Traceability is becoming a big part of modern business. It's much easier to be traceable when you produce locally.

    3. More sustainability

    The environmental impact of businesses is a particularly hot topic right now. It used to be that the economic advantage of offshoring was the top factor. Now, sustainability is "mission critical" for businesses. Choosing a collaborative robot to automate a process in your business is much more sustainable than shipping your product halfway around the world. Cobots can also improve sustainability less obvious ways — for example, they make better use of abrasive media by eliminating common sources of human error in robot sanding and polishing

    4. Competitive advantage

    Once upon a time, the practice of offshoring gave a competitive advantage. But, as columnist Geoffrey James says "When everybody is following the same strategy, it can't possibly create a competitive advantage for anybody." These days, most companies use offshoring. Local production can now give the competitive edge to a business.

    5. Expanded core business

    A common argument for offshoring is that it "allows a company to focus on its core business" but this makes less sense than it used to. By contrast, one of the arguments we gave for choosing in-house robotics expertise over outsourcing is that it "expands your core business." When you use a collaborative robot to automate locally, your business's competencies will grow, without derailing your core capabilities.

    6. Less inventory (aka. waste)

    In 2005, a US start-up called ET Water Systems started losing money rapidly. The reason? By choosing to offshore its manufacturing rather than choosing local production, it had huge amounts of capital tied up in shipments from China. Local production allows you to have better working capital and less inventory, which is one of the core types of waste in Lean Robotics.

    7. Fewer trade uncertainties

    We live in rather uncertain times at the moment — which was one of the themes which emerged from this year's Robotiq User Conference. This can often lead to uncertainties with import and export, which can add an unnecessary element of stress to your whole business. Locally produced products are much less affected.

    8. More stable finances

    Although offshoring is often cheaper, it is not always significantly cheaper than locally produced products — the ET Water Systems case above, for example, found that offshoring to China was only 10% cheaper than producing locally when they took into account the cost of shipping, duties, etc. These costs are also more volatile as they are affected by fuel prices, politics, and multiple economies.

    9. Fewer cultural confusions

    True cultural integration is great, but offshoring can highlight the disadvantages of cross-cultural communication. These issues are compounded by the fact that you may be literally on the other side of the world from the people doing your work. It is certainly possible to adjust to such cultural and social differences, but it adds complexity to your business.

    10. Better communication

    Despite the many improvements in online telecommunication, it is still the case that face-to-face interaction promotes better communication. As Mina Chang, CEO and President of Linking the World International, says: "Managing a successful team — and, consequently, a successful business — requires personal connections." When your team is local, this is so much easier.

    11. Creation of local jobs

    A criticism often railed at robots is that "automation steals jobs." However, when it comes to the issue of offshoring vs onshoring, the opposite is often the case. Robots allow companies to create more jobs locally. These jobs would otherwise have been sourced from abroad for cost reasons.

    12. Safer intellectual property

    Even with the most trustworthy global team, there is always a certain risk to intellectual property when you outsource. This problem can be compounded when you are dealing with teams around the other side of the world, where cybersecurity practices may be less strict. When you keep your processes in-house, your intellectual property is more likely to stay safe.

    13. Same time zone

    Thanks to the internet, the world is much more connected than it has ever been before. However, time zones still serve a major block to inter-continental communication. The further you are from each other, the bigger the problems of being in a different time zone. Producing locally, with the aid of collaborative robots, is a way to completely remove this problem.

    14. Better product quality

    There can be a huge quality benefit to using robotics as an alternative to offshoring. Producing locally allows you to have full control over the quality of your product and gives you the power to adjust quickly if you notice a variation in quality. This is often impossible with offshoring when the first sign of a defect might be when you receive a whole shipping container filled with manufactured products. Carrying out your robotic finishing processes in-house is a surefire way to truly control the final look of the product. 

    15. Closer working relationships

    Finally, there is a tangible human benefit to producing locally. Here at Robotiq, we are strong believers in the idea that bringing people physically together — even just once in a while — has the potential to forge strong relationships. This is one reason that we hold our Robotiq User Conference every year, the last of which was in September 2019.

    There is no substitute for getting the team together, in the same physical location, and improving connections!

     

    What impacts can you see by using robots instead of offshoring? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or the DoF professional robotics community.

    Read more »

NASA Breaking News

Space News

Universe Today

European Space Agency Articles

  • Einladung an die Medien nach Sevilla

    Press Release N° 20–2019

    Die ESA-Ministerratskonferenz, Space 19+ - www.esa.int/space19plus, findet am 27. und 28 November 2019 im Kongresszentrum FIBES im spanischen Sevilla statt.

    Read more »
  • Einladung an die Medien: Live-Event anlässlich des ersten Weltraumspaziergangs von Luca Parmitano während der Mission Beyond

    Press Release N° 19–2019

    Die Medien sind eingeladen, am 15. November 2019 im Europäischen Astronautenzentrum (EAC) in Köln, Deutschland, gemeinsam mit Experten der ESA und des CERN zu beobachten, wie der ESA-Astronaut Luca Parmitano den ersten in einer Reihe von komplexen Weltraumspaziergängen durchführt, um das Alpha-Magnetspektrometer (AMS-02) zu reparieren, das auf der Jagd nach kosmischen Teilchen ist.

    Read more »
  • Einladung an die Medien: Letzter Blick auf den Sentinel-6 Satelliten
    Sentinel-6

    Der Copernicus Sentinel-6 Satellit, der die Meeresspiegelhöhen und die Eisdicke vermessen wird, steht für einen letzten Besuch im Reinraum zur Verfügung, bevor er weiter getestet und für den Start von der Vandenberg Air Force Base, Kalifornien, Ende 2020 vorbereitet wird.

    Medienvertreter sind am 15. November um 09:00 Uhr MEZ in das Raumfahrt-Testzentrum der IAGB in Ottobrunn bei München eingeladen.

    Read more »

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