Mr. President, While Building Roads to Connect the Country, Consider Building the US$65 Million…

first_imgDr. Darren WilkinsThat too Will Help Spark Economic Growth and Modernity.By Dr. Darren Wilkins (Email: [email protected]   Tel: 0777129092 & 0886703789)As part of his vision for Liberia, President Dr. George M. Weah has expressed his determination to improve the infrastructure of the country (roads in particular), thus connecting the entire nation for economic development. His determination and passion to achieve his goals are, unparalleled and unwavering, as we have come to realize. Quite frankly, I am optimistic that he will achieve this by the fourth year of his Presidency, if not earlier. No doubt, connecting the country through paved roads will kindle significant economic growth in Liberia. New businesses will emerge, and major economic activities will occur, especially in those areas benefiting from the paved roads, sustainable electricity, etc.Another move by the President that has won my heart and the hearts of many Liberians living in rural areas, is his mandate for the construction of housing projects in those areas (rural Liberia). What’s even more commendable, if I may, is his mandate that those housing projects be built, equipped with solar power capabilities. What I garner from his actions since he took over, is that he wants to bring a level of modernity to our beloved country; something I believe, all Liberians support.Now, the President could also go beyond the building of roads and housing projects by building the much needed national telecommunications backbone, to bring affordable broadband access to the entire country. Building the national backbone concomitantly with other planned utility infrastructure projects (roads, power grids, etc.), can certainly reduce the costs. According to a feasibility study (Done by the World Bank, I believe) of the national backbone, and results from subsequent stakeholders’ meetings, a national backbone with resilient loops covering 90% of the population (roughly 4000km) will cost around or over $65 million. Again, this depends on the extent to which utility infrastructure projects are used to cut the cost of civil works. Currently, the West African Power Pool (WAPP) is going on in the rural areas, building the national backbone now, would reduce some costs. But what is this national backbone all about and how does it benefit Liberia/ns? Below, I provide some details.In 2010, Liberia took a $25.6 million loan from the World Bank to join a “Consortium” for the landing of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine fiber optic cable.  The ACE cable would connect Liberia to the digital world, provide affordable broadband access for its citizens and residents, and kindle and drive economic growth, through programs like e-government, e-commerce, e-health, e-agriculture, etc.  The ACE cable landed in November 2011 and became operational in January of 2013. It offered Liberia its first international Internet gateway, thus increasing access and use of the internet in the country. Since then, we have made significant progress in leveraging it (ACE Cable) in Monrovia and a few miles outside of the city. Yet, we have we have not been able to transcend Monrovia and its suburbs for citizens in other areas to benefit from the Cable. One reason for this is our inability to build a national backbone that connects major cities in the country and allow those in the rural areas considered, “un-served”, “underserved” and “marginalized”, to benefit from the ACE cable. Meanwhile, we are expected to start paying on the $25.6 million loan at some point, if not now, even though the Cable has been and is still greatly UNDERUTILIZED.Let’s backtrack a moment. In 2010 France Telecom-Orange initiated the ACE Submarine Communications Cable Project that would run from France to South Africa. This was in addition to the already deployed SAT-3 cable that our neighbor Cote d’Ivoire, had been benefitting from. The ACE Cable is a 17000 km-long submarine fiber –optic cable system that was financed with an investment of approximately $700 million and administered by a consortium.  Liberia is a member of this consortium. The initial number of members connected to the cable or part of the consortium was 18 African countries; including Liberia. The capacity of the cable at the time was 5.1 Terabits. Today, that capacity has been upgraded.For Liberia to secure membership to the ACE consortium, an agreement was reached between the Government of Liberia, LIBTELCO and two other private-sector operators (Cellcom, now Orange and Lonestar MTN). This was a public-private partnership (PPP). The World Bank supported the GoL’s membership to the Consortium and later provided a loan of $25.6 million. This amount was for the cost of membership in the ACE consortium, administrative costs, and capacity building. This loan is expected to be paid back at some point, as I mentioned earlier.The $25.6 million loan had three components: The first and the largest portion of $21 million covered the cost of Internet connectivity, primarily the cost of membership in the ACE Consortium. The second component which was US$3.32 million, covered the cost of formulating and implementing policies, regulations and institutional arrangements to support long-term Internet connectivity. The third component of US$1.28 million, covered project expenses, including a project-implementation unit (PIU) based at the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), our national regulator.The GoL owns 55% shares in the ACE Cable’s distribution, LIBTELCO owns 20%, while Orange owns 10% and Lonestar MTN owns 15%. The GoL’s capacity is still sitting there; unused! The others are simply underutilized. Without a national fiber optic backbone the Cable may never be utilized to its full potential and folks in the rural areas my not benefit from it. Hence, the deployment of a national backbone is necessary at this time to drive demand for the ACE’s capacity. It will lead to a national fiber optic network that connects all cities within the country, thereby enabling last mile penetration to un-served and underserved areas. This also is in line with the Government’s Universal Access Policy. Moreover, the national backbone will facilitate better and cheaper access to communications services, provide jobs for people in the fifteen counties, and bring improvement to our struggling economy.While I ask the President and the Government to consider building the national backbone, I should state emphatically, that such an initiative requires a supportive environment facilitated by the Government, with participation from the private sector. This means, that GoL will utilize a Public Private Partnerships (PPP) approach in the deployment of a national backbone, and allow it to be managed under Open Access principles. In fact, this is something that was discussed earlier attracting interests from other players. Interest was shown by the African Development Bank, through its support for connectivity amongst the Mano River Union Member States (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire), the ECOWAS’s Regional Infrastructure initiative, which considers building the ECOWAS Wide Area Network or ECOWAN, the World Bank (WARCIP), the African Union’s PIDA, and several others from the private sector, both local and international.The development of a national backbone in Liberia is a matter of urgency, and a clear planthat stimulates strong public/private sector collaboration to build out the national backbone must be developed and explored in order to better utilize the spare capacity in the ACE submarine cable.If a PPP is considered, appropriate institutional mechanisms for management and operation of the national backbone with consideration for the structuring it’s administration to ensure transparency and accountability should also be put in place. Again, I call on the President and the GoL to consider building the national backbone while building the roads because that’s when backbone ducting are cheaper to install. Otherwise, if we build the roads first and the backbone later, we will have to break the roads as is being done today, in the CSquared Metro fiber optic network project in Monrovia. And that would be another cost!Finally, it is obvious that the telecommunications and ICT sector has seen a decline over the years; and this sector is supposed to be one of the “Cash Cow” sectors of our economy. Why the decline? Could the lack of a national fiber optic backbone be the reason? That’s it for today!Until next week, Carpe diem!!! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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OOL Without Bluffing Is Nothing

first_img(Visited 53 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Count the hopeful “could” words in a speculative NASA Astrobiology myth.Origin-of-life (OOL) research is no nearer to its dreams of accounting for life’s emergence than it was in 1953, when Stanley Miller sparked the wrong gases. Back then, evolutionists, journalists and teachers became entranced with how life “could” happen. The only progress in the past six decades has been the growing sophistication of their ignorance. The field has divided into two major camps (genetics-first and metabolism-first) who routinely falsify each other’s latest claims (e.g., compare 1/06/08 with 2/15/07).It’s essential for the funders at NASA and NSF to keep hope alive. They do this with clever rhetorical tricks, including personification fallacies, sidestepping, visualization, the power of suggestion, half-truths and red herrings. All these are evident in a NASA Astrobiology puff piece about so-called “molecular midwives that gave birth to RNA” (pardon; your personification fallacy is showing). Elizabeth Powell, chief cheerleader, introduces the quarterback before the game:“The origin of RNA is something I’ve been working on for two decades,” said Nicholas Hud, head of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Chemical Evolution, where researchers are attempting to figure out how life began. “It is easy to speculate that some other molecule came before RNA, but determining the structure of molecules that might actually have come before RNA is a major challenge for chemists.”But can he tackle the challenge after two decades of trying? Hud knows that RNA is unstable, so he works on “pre-RNA” or “proto-RNA” instead (5/10/16). The referees should call foul on each one of his plays:Proflavine can make RNA more stable, he says, but then admits that “proflavine is not a potentially prebiotic molecule“.The “RNA World” hypothesis gets a quick mention, but then we learn that “After decades of unsuccessful attempts to create RNA in model prebiotic (non-biological) reactions, many chemists that study the origin of life believe that there must have been some other RNA-like polymer before RNA.”RNA is “the product of evolution,” Howell suggests, but there can be no natural selection before accurate replication.Howell mentions a simpler molecule crafted by Krishnamurthy called “iso-GNA”, but it doesn’t form stable complexes without intercalators like proflavine (which, Hud said, is “not a potentially prebiotic molecule”). But no other “possible prebiotic polymers” are mentioned.Becoming broadminded can be a good thing, but Hud and Krishnamurthy find themselves needing to “broaden their view of which molecules might have come before RNA.“In short, they have nothing but hope that someday in the future somebody might find empirical evidence for things that are so far only “tempting to speculate” about.These two researchers and their co-workers are currently trying to find a possible ancestor of RNA that is able to spontaneously form from molecules that were present on the early Earth. They remain more open than ever to the idea that some molecules not seen in life today may have been necessary to get life started, perhaps molecules that we could view as the “midwives” that helped give “birth” to RNA.It’s impossible for a molecule to be a midwife, or for anything not alive to give birth. But even if RNA is “born,” it is not alive. What characterizes life is the genetic programming and molecular machinery that achieve homeostasis against the natural tendencies of chemistry. Membranes, for instance, oppose natural osmosis with cellular machines that perform active transport against concentration gradients. Genetic codes employ molecular machines to proofread and repair the natural tendencies of chemistry and thermodynamics to degrade information.The perhapsimaybecouldness index (PCI) in the article is off the charts.Could: 5x, as in “the first of these polymers could be called a ‘proto-RNA‘ and each evolutionary step between proto-RNA and current RNA is a ‘pre-RNA.’Might: 6x, as in “small molecules might have helped the synthesis of RNA, or the original ancestor of RNA, if RNA came later.”Possible: 5x, as in “These two researchers and their co-workers are currently trying to find a possible ancestor of RNA”.Potential: 4x, as in “RNA looks potentially older and more versatile than DNA, so many scientists believe that RNA came before DNA.”May: 3x, as in “Hud notes that proflavine is not a potentially prebiotic molecule, but was used in their study as a model for the type of intercalator molecules that may have been available on early Earth.”Perhaps: 1x, as in ‘perhaps molecules that we could view as the “midwives” that helped give “birth” to RNA.’Speculate: 1x, as in “It is easy to speculate that some other molecule came before RNA.”That’s 24 bet-hedging words out of 1,144 words in the short article, a whopping 2% PCI. Is it balanced by any observable, empirical, repeatable scientific work that directly bears on the question of OOL, or at least on the origin of RNA? We find that the words “lab” or “experiment” are completely absent. “Test” is used once in reference to a hypothetical situation that doesn’t matter in any plausible prebiotic conditions: “testing the ability of an intercalator to facilitate the pairing of Krishnamurthy’s molecule (iso-GNA) with RNA.” And the stem for “observe” appears only 3 times, all in connection with the same iso-GNA molecule, which is not implicated in the origin of life, but only looks “simpler” than RNA.Howell ends, “Funding for the research was provided by the National Science Foundation (which funds CCE more generally) and a grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute element of the Astrobiology Program at NASA.”Yes, it is easy to speculate. Hud is speculating on taxpayer dollars. He speculates he can keep his job by looking busy accomplishing nothing at government expense (see 6/25/14 commentary). He gets away with it because non-naturalistic explanations for life have been ruled out from the start. What’s left is a playpen for childish notions of buildings without builders, machines without designers, and libraries without writers. Let your imagination go with those criteria, and the possibilities are endless.Good time to read what Steve Benner told Susan Mazur (see 12/31/13). Compare his honesty and call for transparency with the speculative mythmaking in Howell’s article.last_img read more

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Thinking Big About Big Data: GNS Tackles Personalized Healthcare

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market richard macmanus One of the top four trends identified in Rock Health’s report on digital health was data / analytics. Arguably, big data is the most important factor in transforming the healthcare system – given the vast amount of genetic and other medical data available today, combined with the increasing prevalence of mobile health apps and EMRs (Electronic Medical Records). One company thinking big about big data in healthcare is GNS Healthcare. The Cambridge, MA. firm has developed a large-scale technology platform that crunches huge data sets and delivers personalized medical recommendations.Big Data has been a trend in Internet technology in many markets, such as social networking, e-commerce and enterprise. But as GNS explains on its website, big data is particularly relevant in healthcare:“The healthcare industry is now awash in data: from biological data such as gene expression, SNPs, proteomics, metabolomics to, more recently, next-generation gene sequence data. This exponential growth in data is further fueled by the digitization of patient-level data: stored in Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), enhanced with data from imaging and test results, medical and prescription claims, and personal health devices.”Delivering Personalized HealthcareGNS uses machine learning, run on “massively parallel cloud-based supercomputers,” to analyze all of this data and make use of it. Its core technology is called REFS (Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation), which is explained in this video: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts The overall goal of REFS is to help healthcare providers deliver “personalized medicine” to their patients. REFS uses a patient’s DNA, molecular and clinical data to try and ascertain what the best medicine is for that person.Real World DataColin Hill, the CEO and Chairman of GNS Healthcare’s parent company Via Science, recently wrote that the key to GNS’s approach is “real world data.” He defined that as “any data not generated from a randomized clinical trial (RCT).” Whereas RCT data comes from a controlled experiment, real world data is not controlled – but simply observed. It’s “everything from insurance claims and lab tests to patient registries and health IT systems.”Last August Hill told Metro Business Media his overall vision for personalized healthcare:“[My] vision is where data is collected and ultimately put into a centralized repository in the cloud where technology like ours will be mining the data continuously to determine what’s working and what’s not working for whom.”If you’re looking for the future of the Internet, it isn’t the next hot social video app. It’s software that aims to change people’s lives – perhaps even save lives. We’ll continue to track the progress of GNS. Tags:#health#web last_img read more

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Racism Is Definitely A Thing In Canada This New Campaign Proves It

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement “I’m so sick of people constantly asking to touch my hair,” another says.Anti-black racism is alive and well in Canada, the council’s executive director Debbie Douglas told The Huffington Post Canada.“It informs how black folk walk and live their lives.” Login/Register With: “Diversity is our strength.”It’s Toronto’s official motto and Canada’s most celebrated value. We think of ourselves as a country of immigrants, yet people who look different are still singled out.“People won’t sit next to me on the subway,” reads a poster for a new ad campaign created by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). Twitterlast_img read more

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Soul mate view of marriage limits women

first_imgWives who have a romantic view of marriage are less likely to do volunteer work for the wider community, leading their husbands to volunteer less as well, says a study.The researchers focused on whether couples took a “soul mate” view of marriage, making it their top priority in life; or whether they held a more traditional view, placing additional values on other functions of marriage such as raising children and fulfilling financial needs.“Wives who take a more romantic view of marriage appear to seek (emotional) satisfaction primarily through husbands, which might take couples’ time and energy away from their involvement in the community,” the researchers wrote. But husbands’ romantic view of marriage was associated with neither their own nor their wives’ volunteering, the study found.  Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFor the study, Young-Il Kim from Baylor University and Jeffrey Dew from Brigham Young University, both in the US, analysed data from the Survey of Marital Generosity, a recent US national sample of 1,368 married couples ages 18 to 45. Participants were asked about their views of marriage, how often they volunteered, how much time they spent solely with each other and how often they attended religious services.The study, published in the journal Sociological Perspectives, found that wives’ view of the marriage as “soul mates” was associated with less volunteering of both wife and husband, but a man’s having a soul mate view of marriage was not associated with volunteering by either spouse.Time spent alone with one’s spouse was positively associated with husbands’ reports of their own volunteering.last_img read more

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Night shifts during pregnancy up miscarriage risk

first_imgWomen who do two or more night shifts a week during pregnancy are likely to have an increased risk of miscarriage, says a new study. This is because women working at night are exposed to artificial light which disrupts their circadian rhythm or body clock and decreases the release of melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles and helps in maintaining a successful pregnancy, according to the study published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe findings showed that after the eighth week of pregnancy, women who had worked two or more night shifts had a 32 per cent higher risk of miscarriage. “This may be explained by the decline in the proportion of chromosomally abnormal foetuses with gestational age, which makes an association with environmental exposure more easily detectable among later miscarriages,” said researchers. Previous studies have also stated that women who work in night shifts, even occasionally, are at an increased risk of early menopause, which can heighten the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and memory problems.last_img read more

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Seven Lessons That SMBs Can Learn from Big IT

first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now David StromJust because you don’t have a large enterprise doesn’t mean you can’t run your IT operation like the big guys. Here are seven ways to help your SMB–a small or medium-size business–implement some of the lessons big IT operations have learned over the years. Using these tips, you should be able to improve productivity, cut costs, and keep your business running smoothly.1. Standardize on Desktops and Cell Phones to Reduce Support DifferencesThis is not as easy as it sounds, because even if you buy multiple quantities of the same exact model of PC, the systems could still have subtle internal differences that can come back to haunt you when you have to fix them. Carey Holzman, an independent reseller based in Glendale, Arizona, ran into this problem. His company ordered a particular model of computer that contained specific parts meeting the corporation’s strict requirements. Yet when he received the PCs, he found that the systems contained two revisions of the ATI video card, one of which caused an incompatibility with the mice the company used.And unfortunately for Holzman, the PC vendor was of little help. “The vendor refused to acknowledge any responsibility for the video card incompatibility. We started ordering the computers without video cards after that–until the next problem cropped up, and eventually, [we] switched vendors entirely,” he says.To keep incompatibilities to a minimum, you should try to stock hard drives from the same vendor, and to standardize on the same model of peripherals such as printers, mice, and keyboards, too. You can also make use of Windows Inspection Toolkit or similar utilities to keep track of the specific configuration of your systems. Finally, use drive imaging software such as Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost to make copies of your basic system installation, so that it can be recovered easily in case of virus infections or other problems.Many IT shops also buy spare PCs and use them for replacements. “The problem is that you are tempted to use it as new workstation, instead of as a replacement, and then you no longer have a spare,” says Holzman. “You need to put it in the closet and use it only to help you through temporary IT emergencies.” Besides keeping several spare PCs, it’s also a good idea stock a spare laser printer and network hub in case yours go south.Holzman also recommends retainer support contracts with a local technician, so you won’t have to scrutinize the invoices trying to interpret the work that was done and whether the tech was being fair and honest.2. Perform Off-Site BackupsSmall businesses have basically two approaches to choose from in doing backups: One is to copy critical data to a series of external hard drives and periodically rotate them from your office to a remote location (such as a bank safe deposit box). The other is to use one of a number of online backup service providers such as Box.net, Symantec Online Backup, Carbonite, or Mozy that offer low cost gigabyte-level storage. Big IT typically uses off-site tape storage because of the quantity of the data involved, but for smaller outfits, online services are less expensive and more convenient.The trick with either method is to use them religiously, and to ensure that all of your data is copied on a regular basis. The online backup option could be especially handy in more than one way: Earlier this summer, Damian Zikakis, a Michigan-based headhunter, had his laptop stolen when someone broke into his offices. He replaced it a few days later; and because he had used Mozy, he thought that he was covered in terms of being able to bring back his files from the Internet backup.When Zikakis had a moment to examine the layout of his new machine, he “found several incriminating files. The individuals who had my computer did not realize that the Mozy client was installed and running in the background. They had also used PhotoBooth to take pictures of themselves and had downloaded a cell phone bill that had their name on it,” he says.Zikakis did a bit of head hunting on his own and contacted the appropriate police department with this information. They were able to recover his computer, and now have the task of figuring out who actually took the laptop originally and what law enforcement options to pursue.3. Use Hardware to Secure Your Internet ConnectionSMBs often are not as attentive to the security of their Internet connection as they should be, and the results of such neglect could be disastrous. Last year, hackers compromised the point of sale system (POS) of clothing designer firm Nanette Lepore. The hackers managed to reconfigure the outdated firewalls and sold some stolen credit card numbers from the company’s high-end clientele.This happened because the company’s chain of retail stores had little or no security measures or proper procedures. “All of our store clerks were using the same password to access the POS,” says Jose Cruz, Nanette Lepore’s network manager. “It was wide open. No one had ever thought to change passwords periodically, or even use different ones for each user. Prior to my arrival here, the emphasis on POS security wasn’t urgent. Needless to say, this all changed.”Cruz got a call that no one ever wants to receive–from the FBI, telling him that several of their customers had received fraudulent credit card charges. This led to finding out that the company’s Netopia DSL routers had been hacked, and their firmware had been changed to allow hackers inside their network.The stores now use SonicWall integrated security devices, and Cruz has implemented password change policies and other security procedures to ensure that he won’t get a repeat of what happened before. Such an approach can help an SMB keep private information secure. Another good policy: Ensure that all network access is turned off when an employee leaves the company.4. Use a VPNMany larger IT shops make use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure that their communications are kept confidential, and that traveling users can access home office files and other resources when on the road. Many of these VPN products can be quite expensive, but the SMB alternatives don’t have to cost a lot of money.Some, such as Openvpn.org, are free, while low-cost VPN service providers such as LogMeIn.com’s Hamachi can run about $50 per person per year. “Hamachi allows us to connect to hundreds of our customers and monitor live videos of our security cameras discreetly and without having to worry about being compromised by unauthorized users,” says Ben Molloy, the vice president of Pro-Vigil, a San Antonio, Texas-based company that provides security for off-hours construction sites.And VPNs come integrated in a variety of lower-cost security gateway appliances, too. Nanette Lepore makes use of the SSL VPNs that are included in the SonicWall appliances to connect their stores together, and to ensure that no one can compromise their communications.The Lepore firm even set up temporary accounts for guest workers and maintenance personnel that are purposely time-limited. Granting accounts for temporary personnel without such time limits is another common mistake. Time-limited accounts mean that the IT staff doesn’t have to remember to remove the account when the maintenance is completed.5. Run Personal Firewalls, Especially on Windows PCsWindows is notorious for being a security sinkhole, and most larger IT operations now require their PCs to run some kind of personal firewall to prevent infections and malware from taking over. A wide range of products is available, but the key is to pick one, make it standard, and make sure that all employees are educated about why it is necessary to keep the firewall running at all times, especially when traveling. Inexpensive but effective firewalls include AVG from Grisoft.com, Online Armour, and Kaspersky Labs.However, you can’t always manage each individual machine, and a careless user could turn off these defenses and let viruses in. This is where having a drive image copy can come in handy.Another way to enforce security policies and other protective measures is to deploy some endpoint security tool that will block unhealthy PCs from gaining network access. Napera is one product that is specifically targeted at SMB installations, and McAfee and Sophos have others.Matt Stevenson, who is the director of information technology for Talyst, a pharmacy automation vendor in Bellevue, Washington, has been using the $3500 Napera appliance on his 120-node network for the past six months. “A lot of our staff is out in the field, and they attach to a wide variety of networks. When they come back to our office, the Napera box forces their PCs to become compliant and to ensure that our network won’t get infected,” he says.6. Rely on VoIP PBX for Your Phone SystemAs more and more big IT shops can attest, using a VoIP PBX telephone system has tremendous cost advantages. The biggest one is for your remote workers who can have extensions on your headquarters’ phone system. These systems are also very flexible in terms of call handling, and offer other features such as call forwarding, multiple simultaneous rings (where an incoming call can be answered wherever it is more convenient), so-called follow-me (where incoming calls are routed to particular numbers at particular times of the day), and do-not-disturb.”Now businesses are able to get features that can set the rules on how they are contacted, and be able to conduct more business when they aren’t in their office,” says Henry Kaestner, the founder and CEO of Internet phone provider Bandwidth.com, one of the many vendors that offer this kind of service. CBeyond and Asterisk are other companies that offer VoIP PBX.These systems start at around $400 a month and have the advantage of being able to grow or contract with your staffing needs. They also can present your company as more professional, with features that are normally found on very expensive phone systems. The downside is that you need to ensure that your network is up to snuff to handle all the voice traffic; and to get the most out of these systems, you’ll want to find a VAR or consultant who specializes in VoIP PBX installations.7. Have a Solid Test Plan for Adding New TechnologyThe big guys don’t put some new tech into their operations without first doing a lot of testing first. Put together a test lab or designate one office that will be your “beta bar,” and encourage your most technical staffer to try out new things before getting them deployed.Ramon Ray, the owner of the site Smallbiztechnology, advises that in addition to testing, it’s important to analyze a variety of options. “Just don’t just go for the first choice, but think and review the pros and cons and what else is available to you. During the testing, it is also important to consider your future needs. Many smaller businesses don’t think of their future growth, which will affect their IT plans,” he says.David Strom is a veteran technology journalist, speaker, and former IT manager. He has written two books on computing and thousands of articles. His blog can be found at strominator.com . Enroll Now for Free November 13, 2008 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 10 min readlast_img read more

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Googles Cloud Robotics platform to be launched in 2019 will combine the

first_imgEarlier this week, Google announced its plans to launch a ‘Cloud Robotics platform’ for developers in 2019. Since the early onset of ‘cloud robotics’ in the year 2010, Google has explored various aspects of the cloud robotics field. Now, with the launch of Cloud Robotics platform, Google will combine the power of AI, robotics and the cloud to deploy cloud-connected collaborative robots. The platform will encourage efficient robotic automation in highly dynamic environments. The core infrastructure of the Platform will be open source and users will pay only for what services they use. Features of Cloud Robotics platform: #1 Critical infrastructure The platform will introduce secure and robust connectivity between robots and the cloud. Kubernetes will be used for the management and distribution of digital assets. Stackdriver will assist with the logging, monitoring, alerting, and dashboarding processes. Developers will gain access to Google’s data management and AI capabilities, ranging from Cloud Bigtable to Cloud AutoML. The standardized data types and open APIs will help developers build reusable automation components. Moreover, open APIs support interoperability, which means integrators can compose end-to-end solutions with collaborative robots from different vendors. #2 Specialized tools The tools provided with this platform will help developers to build, test, and deploy software for robots with ease. Composing and deploying automation solutions in customers’ environments through system integrators can be done easily. Operators can monitor robot fleets and ongoing missions, as well. Plus, users have to only pay for the services they use. That being said, if a user decides to move to another cloud provider, they can take their data with them! #3 Fostering powerful first-party services and third-partyy innovation Google’s initial Cloud Robotics services can be applied to various use cases like robot localization and object tracking. The services will process sensor data from multiple sources and use machine learning to obtain information and insights about the state of the physical world. It will encourage an ecosystem of hardware, and applications, that can be used and re-used for collaborative automation. #4 Industrial Automation made easy Industrial automation requires extensive custom integration. Collaborative robots can help improve flexibility of the overall process.  It will help save costs and vendor lock ins. That being said, it is difficult to program robots to understand and react to the unpredictable changes of the physical human world. The Google Cloud platform will solve these issues by providing flexible automation services like Cartographer service, Spatial Intelligence service and Object Intelligence service Watch this video to know more about these services: Alternatively, head over to Google’s Blog to know more about this announcement. Read Next What’s new in Google Cloud Functions serverless platform Cloud Filestore: A new high performance storage option by Google Cloud Platform Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS): How Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and AWS are democratizing Artificial Intelligencelast_img read more

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