Recognizing hidden dangers: 25 steps to a Safer Office

It’s fairly obvious that safety and health hazards can exist on worksites filled with heavy machinery and equipment, where employees often are required to engage in strenuous manual labor.

A job where most of the work tasks are completed while sitting in a chair in a climate-controlled office building would seem less fraught with danger. However, a surprising number of hazards can be present in an office setting.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80,410 private-industry office and administrative workers suffered on-the-job injuries in 2008. Many of these injuries could have been prevented had workers or supervisors recognized the risks and implemented simple workplace modifications to help mitigate them.

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Machine Learning and AI are Transforming the Financial Services Industry

Since the 1950’s progressive thinkers have imagined that robots would revolutionize the world someday. Today, it seems that artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the landscape of business, and it is with much more than robotics. Innovative new AI technologies are transforming a wide variety of industries, including financial services.

In a study titled “Worldwide Semiannual Cognitive Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide” from International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide revenues for artificial intelligence systems are predicted to reach $12.0 billion in 2017, an increase of 59.1% since 2016. The infusion of AI solutions into all industries has resulted in significant growth opportunities. Some of the applications are common across many industries, such as automated customer service functions.

One of the most interesting developments in AI is machine learning. Machine learning allows computers to learn without being specifically programmed to do so, equipping machines to gain important insights from multiple data sources by using statistical theory and formidable computer processors. Machine learning is extremely useful because huge volumes of data can be extracted cheaply and accurately. It also helps traditional banks to stay competitive with challenger banks. Continue reading “Machine Learning and AI are Transforming the Financial Services Industry”

NSC Urges Organizations to Invest in Worker Sleep Health

As most parts of the country prepare to turn clocks ahead one hour this weekend, the National Safety Council is cautioning employers that workers in certain positions and industries who already have a higher risk of being drowsy may be even more tired than usual on Monday.

Shift workers, medical staff, emergency responders, military personnel, workers older than 40 and transportation professionals – especially those who work rotating or night shifts – always are at increased risk for circadian misalignment, which occurs when we force ourselves to stay awake at hours when our bodies believe we should be sleeping, according to a new report from NSC.

Research shows that fatal motor vehicle crashes increase on the Monday following the time change, the report states.
Continue reading “NSC Urges Organizations to Invest in Worker Sleep Health”

Prescription Opioid Risks to the Workplace Explored at RIMS 2018

When the White House declared opioid use a national Public Health Emergency under federal law in 2017, businesses began reviewing their policies and making efforts to curb their employees’ abuse of the drug in its prescribed form. This escalating risk to organizations is why the business impact of prescription opioid use was such a hot topic at RIMS 2018, where a session on April 17 focused on the practical and bottom-line costs of workforce use of prescription opioids. In a session the next day, attendees learned how liability policies are responding to government-led lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, and how to prepare for similar suits brought against other industries. Continue reading “Prescription Opioid Risks to the Workplace Explored at RIMS 2018”

Four Ways to Prepare for Another Active Hurricane Season

Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma all had substantial effects on the US and Caribbean in 2017 and now rank among the top five costliest on record, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasting a similarly active 2018 hurricane season, businesses must take steps now to prepare.

What We Learned in 2017

The sheer number of devastating storms, along with simultaneous earthquakes and wildfires, challenged organizations, their employees, insurers, claims adjusters and consultants, governments, utilities, vendors, and suppliers in 2017. Obtaining qualified expertise, equipment, labor, power, and fuel proved difficult for many organizations without adequate and tested risk management and business continuity plans. Companies also experienced delays in loss assessments, reporting, claims filing, and funds distribution.

Some of the delay was attributable to the varied terms and conditions in insurance policies, which had not been fully vetted prior to sustained losses and were open to interpretation by insureds, insurers, and legal counsel.

If you could be affected by this year’s hurricanes, whether you are located in US regions prone to storms or reliant on suppliers and vendors in such regions, you should consider taking the following preparatory steps. Continue reading “Four Ways to Prepare for Another Active Hurricane Season”

Four Connected Car Challenges Facing the Auto Industry

The future of the automotive world is currently focused around connected vehicles. A connected vehicle is equipped with access to the internet. This allows the vehicle to share access to the internet with other devices and other technologically-based devices outside of the vehicle, such as traffic signals or weather satellites. As is common with leading edge technologies, connected vehicles are causing new, unforeseen challenges within the industry.

 

Here are 4 of the greatest challenges facing the automotive industry in the era of connected cars.

  1. Big data storage

As the complexity of connected cars grows, especially when it comes to autonomous vehicles, the amount of data required is mind-blowing. For example, BMW has stated that a single vehicle on their autonomous platform generates 16-40 terabytes of information per day! Auto engineers need to figure out how much of the data generated is essential, what data requires storage on board the vehicle, and how much can be off loaded to cloud storage systems.

  1. 5G data systems

The demand for data systems will continue to expand with the advent of connected vehicles. One possible solution to this exploding demand is to transition to 5th generation (5G) wireless networking architecture built on the 802.11ac IEE wireless networking standard, which is expected to increase data communication speeds by up to three times the current 4G architecture. While 5G technology may be the answer, it will increase the cost, which goes against current automotive goals of keeping costs down. The industry as a whole will need to address this issue as the data requirements for connected cars continues to escalate. Continue reading “Four Connected Car Challenges Facing the Auto Industry”

Five Digital Trends in Education

Educators are coming to realize the tremendous opportunity digital technology offers student learning in the U.S. Traditionally, the education sector can be resistant to change, holding on to conventional methods and practices. However, the digital revolution has impacted educational technology; teachers are making significant progress in their use of technology in their instruction, testing and even the physical environment of their classrooms, at a much faster rate than expected. These current trends are making headlines in education because of the impact they are having on student learning and development.

  1. Personalized instruction

Every student is a unique learner, with their own strengths and challenges. In the past, educators often had to apply the same teaching approach to all students in their classroom.

Today’s technological advances have made it possible for teachers to evolve beyond this limiting paradigm. In the classroom of today, teachers are using a “blended learning” approach, that enables them to allow individual students to move through the materials at their own pace and with personalized learning opportunities. While traditional instruction will continue where appropriate, teachers have many more learning techniques that can be employed to better fit the learning style of each unique student.

  1. Augmented and virtual reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are game-changers in the world of education. Students are no longer expected to sit at their desks all day long. Education technology has facilitated collaborative and interactive learning opportunities. AR and VR are being used to enhance instruction while simultaneously creating immersive lessons that are fun and engaging for students. Examples include:

  • Giving students the opportunity to choose their learning setting
  • Providing first-hand creative learning experiences (i.e. traveling in a historic time-period)
  • Enabling students to interact with teachers and other students within a virtual reality setting

Current learning applications that are being used in the educational industry include Unimersiv, Cospaces and Magic Leap. While the full impact of VR and AR in the classroom is still not understood, it is clear that these technologies have the potential to increase visual literacy, technological literacy and attention to audience. Continue reading “Five Digital Trends in Education”

Recent Advancements in Solar Energy

The efficiency of solar energy is exceedingly important when it comes to generating power. When it comes to solar cells, the efficiency of the cell not only affects the amount of solar energy that is generated, but also the price per watt.

The efficiency of solar cells has improved over time. When Bell Labs first developed the silicon solar panel in 1954, the efficiency level was a mere 6 percent. By the 1970s, the efficiency had been raised to 14 percent. Today, most solar panels have an efficiency level of between 14 and 23 percent, depending on the model.

Recent advances in solar cell technology has reduced costs and created an increased competitive market among solar panel manufacturers. Every successful development not only improves the efficiency of solar cells, but also improves the reliability and lowers prices. In the last year, several advances have been made that will likely change the future of solar energy, making it more affordable for the average homeowner. Continue reading “Recent Advancements in Solar Energy”

Robotics and Drones Increasingly Used for Search and Rescue Operations

According to the National Park Service, 46,609 people required search and rescue (SAR) services in the U.S. between 2004 and 2014. The death toll from these incidents was 1,578. The cost of the operations was more than $51.4 million during that time span.

Robots are increasingly being used by SAR organizations to cut costs, increase efficiency and keep the tragic loss of life as low as possible. Government agencies, companies and aid organizations are all turning to the development of robots, drones and artificial intelligence as aids in SAR missions. Timing is critical when it comes to rescue operations; robots and other technologies can reduce the duration of SAR undertakings as well as equip the team with an arsenal of information, which helps them arrive and perform their operations faster and effectively. Continue reading “Robotics and Drones Increasingly Used for Search and Rescue Operations”

Four Emerging Trends in Financial Analytics

The financial industry of the future will leverage social platforms, enterprise mobility and data science, addressing the desire for real-time analysis and management to create a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Emerging technology trends will allow finance companies to focus on the highest-value activities to transform digital business, creating a new functional operating model. Here are 4 digital trends that are transforming financial analytics.

 

  1. Social Finance

While “social finance” may, at first glance, appear to be an oxymoron, many millennials are invested in collaborative communities if they include a common purpose and a supportive structure. Finance teams can, in fact, be social, generating exceptional analytics forged through the collaborative efforts of visionary strategists, data stewards and result-oriented team members. The financial planning process can involve multiple stakeholders who have expertise and discretion over business operations that include decisions that impact expenses, revenue and capital investment. As more team members analyze data, communicate and engage in budgeting activities, including accurate forecasting, they have more buy-in as it relates to financial performance.

The technology that enables this type of teamwork includes:

  • Shared corporate calendar
  • Focus on processes, deliverables and due dates
  • Chat feature for frequent and informal conversations
  • Tools for advanced business model.

Continue reading “Four Emerging Trends in Financial Analytics”