Sunday, November 3, 2019

WFH isn’t the only way to achieve improved productivity

Asynchronous Communication is the real reason remote workers are more productive. Studies show remote workers are more productive than their office-bound counterparts. As mentioned in the linked article, "...people gain back time (and sanity) by avoiding rush hour commutes. They avoid the distractions of the office. They regain a sense of control over their workdays. They have more time to dedicate to family, friends, and hobbies."

This is where asynchronous communication stands out -- when you send a message without expecting an immediate response. For example, you send an email. I open and respond to the email several hours later.
Synchronous communication is when message is sent and the recipient processes the information and responds immediately. In-person communication, like meetings, are examples of purely synchronous communication. You say something, I receive the information as you say it, and respond to the information right away.
Digital forms of communication, like real-time chat messaging, can be synchronous as well. For example Slack or other chat tools: someone sends a message, I get a notification and open up Slack to read the message and respond in near real-time. Even email is treated largely as a synchronous form of communication. A 2015 study conducted by Yahoo Labs found that the most common email response time was just 2 minutes.

Read more here...

Friday, November 1, 2019

Giant-Sized Drone for Cargo

From Engaget:

While Volocopter's been busy working on its air taxis, it's also preparing to enter the utility drone market using a similar design. Much like the company's experimental 2X and upcoming VoloCity, the aptly-named VoloDrone announced today is yet another 18-rotor electric aircraft, which can be remote-controlled or set to a pre-planned route in autonomous mode. But instead of carrying passengers, the VoloDrone is designed to fit various types of cargo and equipment under its belly -- be it a box, an agricultural sprayer, a sling or disaster relief tools.
Watch the video for more... 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Digital Crypto Currency from... the US Central Bank?!

Over at SlashDot, we read:

America's lawmakers and Federal Reserve officials "are so concerned about Facebook's plans to launch a new digital currency," reports Politico's financial services reporter, "that they're contemplating a novel response -- having the central bank create a competitor."
Momentum is building for an idea that was once considered outlandish -- a U.S. government-run virtual currency that would replace physical cash, a dramatic move that could discourage major companies like Facebook from creating their own digital coins. Facebook's proposed currency, Libra, has forced the Fed to consider the issue because of a fear that private companies could establish their own currencies and take control over the global payments system. Some Fed officials share the concern about a new balkanized currency system outside government control that Facebook has threatened to unleash. "Libra bust this way out into the open," said Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics who advises executives on coming policy shifts. 

But it's not just Facebook. The matter is also taking on urgency as other countries consider creating their own digital currencies -- another potential challenge to the primacy of the U.S. dollar. The head of the Bank of England has floated the idea that central banks could create a network of digital currencies to replace the dollar as the world's reserve currency... The Bank for International Settlements, which represents the world's central banks, said early this year that most were conducting research into central bank digital currencies and many were progressing from conceptual work into experimentation and proofs-of-concept...

The details of a possible [U.S.] Fed-developed digital currency are still vague. But advocates and experts say such an instrument could give consumers a new way to make payments without having to rely on banks and without incurring fees when they transfer money. The digital currency would likely take some inspiration from the technology that underpins other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The discussions are informal at this point. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have written to the central bank asking officials to consider how they might approach a digital currency, and some Fed officials have begun to acknowledge the government might someday play a role. "It is inevitable," Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said at a recent conference, according to Reuters. "I think it is better for us to start getting our hands around it."
Read more here and here...

Monday, October 21, 2019

Alphabet (Google) Wing Drone Delivery Service Debuts in Virginia

Alphabet's Wing drone delivery service made its first commercial delivery in Christiansburg, Virginia on October 18, 2019. Wing is a spinoff from Google's parent company, Alphabet. The drone (UAV) service delivered a package through the air from a distribution center to a home in Christiansburg, Virginia, on behalf of FedEx.

Wing received Federal Aviation Authority approval for door-to-door drone delivery. Wing’s partners for this service include FedEx Express, Walgreens, and Sugar Magnolia (a local Virginia retail operation). This constitutes the first businesses in the United States to offer this form of local air delivery to customers.

FedEx is also participating in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program in conjunction with the Memphis Shelby-County Airport Authority, conducting drone operations on airport property to generate data to help inform future UAS policymaking.

During the trial, Wing drones will transport select FedEx packages to qualifying homes in Christiansburg, demonstrating last-mile delivery service.

Read more here and here

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Waymo Placing Fully Autonomous Vehicles on the Road

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle business under Alphabet (neƩ Google), sent an email to customers of its ride-hailing app in Phoenix, Arizona (USA) that their next trip might not have a human safety driver behind the wheel. Fully autonomous / robot cars are here!

Waymo opened a testing and operations center in Chandler, Ariz. in 2016. Since then, the company has ramped up its testing in Chandler and other Phoenix suburbs, launched an early rider program and slowly crept toward commercial deployment. The early rider program, which required vetted applicants to sign non-disclosure agreements to participate, launched in April 2017.

Read more about the service here...