Tuesday, September 10, 2019

UAS-Based Radar Suite for Sounding and Mapping Glaciers

Emily Arnold, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas, was awarded a five-year, $609,000 National Science Foundation grant to customize an unmanned helicopter with two radar arrays so she can explore Greenland’s Helheim Glacier in 2021.

Carrying two bespoke radars powered by the aircraft's electrical system, the professor and her fellow researchers plan to not only map the glacial surfaces, but probe hundreds of meters into the ice. This kind of detailed data collection is not possible with satellite imagery, which covers great expanses but with less precision/far less resolution than low-altitude radar grid mapping. The UAV will operant in an environment of extreme cold temperatures with winds that can reach 55 knots — all while carrying a 10-pound payload. The specifications are for a mission endurance longer than 25 minutes. This means hardware more capable than the typical off-the-shelf solution.

Arnold and her other University of Kansas collaborators aim to gather data that will help scientists better understand the physics and dynamics of ice. “We want to know what [glaciers'] contribution is to global sea level rise” will be, says Arnold.

See the details here: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1848210

Friday, September 6, 2019

Remote Workers are not just more happy, but more productive

Companies that let their employees "work from anywhere and work whenever they want," end up with employees who are more loyal, more productive, and lower overhead expenses.

In a recent study, Harvard associate professor Prithwiraj Choudhury and his colleagues compared how productive, loyal, and cost-effective employees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office were when they were allowed to work flexibly.

A government office was selected because it had recently implemented a wide-scale pilot program to facilitate a number of patent examiners to work remotely when they wanted, while still requiring others to remain in the office.

The results showed a 4.4 percent higher productivity among those in the pilot program, while doing the exact same work as those who were required be in the office.

Read more at:  https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/how-companies-benefit-when-employees-work-remotely

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Republic of Ireland Workers Have the Highest Productivity

In 2017, Irish workers crossed the line to becoime the most productive in the world, adding an average of $99.50 (€87) to the value of the economy every hour they work, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Read More... https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/irish-workers-now-ranked-as-most-productive-in-world-1.3783173

Monday, September 2, 2019

Small Businesses Need to Know about GSA Professional Services Schedule PSS 99

The Professional Services Schedule is the second largest GSA Schedule after IT70.  It is the combination of 30 unique professional services many of which have few similarities to each other.  Therefore, the reality is the Professional Services Schedule or 00CORP in many ways is the combination of many niche services to form one large inter working grouping.
The purpose of combining all these services into one schedule was to reduce the administrative burden for firms that need access to more than one of these unique niches.  We learned that most small businesses utilize on average 3.78 niches or SINs and most large businesses utilize 4.88 SINs.  Consolidation makes sense for ease of access and simplicity of award.

Professional services tend to have high sales volumes even though many of the firms in this grouping are niche players and often smaller than the average federal contractor.  The average small business that holds the Professional Services Schedule conducts over $1MM per year in federal sales.

On PSS, all GSA contracts under $10,000 will be direct no bid awards. (Small Business only)
All contracts under $250,000 will be GSA Small Business Elite Direct Awards. (Small Business only). GSA will break out over $900 million in GSA Prime Vendor Contracts for re-distribution to GSA Small Business Schedule Holders in 2020.

In FY2017, GSA saved taxpayers over 10% of the dollar amount spent through the GSA. This increased efficiency and reduction of administrative burned resulted in $6.8B in savings. GSA enables 15,000 small businesses $1MM plus per year in direct federal contract awards. This means 37% of every dollar spent through the GSA schedule system are with small business —  the highest utilization of small business throughout the federal government.

Read more at: https://gsa.federalschedules.com/industries/gsa-professional-services-schedule-pss/

The GSA PSS Contract only covers the categories detailed below. Certain IT, HR, and energy related services can be offered through PSS, but only to complement the core service offerings.
  • Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services (MOBIS) (formerly Schedule 874)
  • Professional Engineering Services (PES) (formerly Schedule 871)
  • Financial and Business Solutions (FABS) (formerly Schedule 520)
  • Advertising and Integrated Marketing (AIMS) (formerly Schedule 541)
  • Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD) (formerly Schedule 874 V)
  • Environmental Services (formerly Schedule 899)
  • Language Services (formerly Schedule 738 II)
Services including IT, HR, energy, travel, security, and healthcare staffing can be offered under different GSA Schedules.

Monday, August 19, 2019

New Certification Rules from the EU Cybersecurity Act

In June 2019, the European Cybersecurity Act was instituted, introducing the first-ever EU-wide rules on the cybersecurity certification of products, processes, and services. This serves to strengthen the role of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA).

The European cybersecurity certification framework establishes tailored and risk-based EU certification schemes, aiming to increase the cybersecurity of online services and consumer devices. Such European cybersecurity certification scheme comprises a comprehensive set of EU-wide rules, technical requirements, standards and procedures serving to evaluate a specific product, service or process on the basis of its cybersecurity properties. Each certificate will carry one of three assurance levels, and will be recognized EU-wide.
The harmonized rules are expected to facilitate cross-border trade of relevant products and services, reduce market-entry barriers, and simplify the process of cybersecurity certification.
ENISA has received a permanent mandate with additional responsibilities and resources to better help Member States in addressing cybersecurity threats and incidents. This includes support to policy implementation, standardization, certification, crisis management and coordinated vulnerability disclosure. ENISA's mandate has been applicable since 27 June 2019. The Commission is currently preparing the requests for ENISA to design certification schemes and to establish two expert groups:
the European Cybersecurity Certification Group, consisting of Member States representatives; and
the Stakeholder Cybersecurity Certification Group, mandated to advise ENISA and the Commission.
I.a. on the basis of a public consultation, the Commission will identify strategic priorities for certification and a list of ICT products, services and processes to be included in the scheme.”

See further information here...