During this century, technology has its top place since people always try to seek for better technology support for their lives. Technology has been used to make the life of people become simpler and easier. Time, money and efforts have been devoted to invent new and higher level of technology. This technology enables people to do lots of outstanding achievement such as flying to the moon and discovering new star on the sky. However, there are two different opinions about technology. One side says that technology is the best tool to create simpler and easier lives while another side says that technology is harmful for the environment. In fact, those two different opinions are just to be true. Technology can be helpful but harmful at the other side.As an answer of these two different opinions, there is a huge need of green technology or environmental technology. Green technology here means technology which is able to conserve natural environment and resources. Green technology makes people’s lives simpler and easier without providing harmful effect to the people and their surrounding environment. Green technology helps to reduce the effect of prior technology that has made the environment damaged or destructed. This technology repairs the damaged part of nature. Green technology also helps people to maintain and preserve the environment such as purifying water needed in rural areas. Moreover, green technology is also meaningful to absorb the chemical toxic in the air which results in better air for people.Knowing the facts that green technology is very helpful for people’s life, individuals and companies have sought many ways to use this technology wisely. The problem about energy which is limited has always become the problem of every person in every year. Therefore, people now think that green technology [http://www.letmegreen.com/category/green-office] will help people reducing the consumption of energy itself so that they can be economical on energy consumption. Most companies seek for this kind of technology in order to minimize the budget spent for technology and also to provide better working environment for the workers. This will help the company a lot to be sustainable in this global financial crisis. That is why the companies and individuals try to find best application that can reduce the energy consumption. The use of green technology is believed as the best and only way to overcome energy crisis lately. It is also provides simpler application. Now, it is your own choice whether you want to take the complex and difficult technology or green technology which is proven to be less energy consumption.
Regardless of size and industry, every enterprise is dependent upon information technology, and must have a strategy for how to employ it, especially as the internet becomes more pervasive. Information technology strategy is an enabler of business strategy. Not only must an enterprise manage relationships with its constituencies, but it must be able to connect with them electronically through data arteries – information supply, value, and demand chains. The information supply and demand chains are external; the information value chains are internal.An information technology strategy is a special case functional strategy because every function in the enterprise requires electronic information delivery capabilities, and many require electronic process control also. In very large enterprises, strategy may be formulated at both the enterprise and organizational unit levels.As websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Plaxo, and Twitter become more pervasive in business, linkages between application systems and databases and social networking websites will be more important to enable constituencies to communicate both collaboratively and cooperatively. Just as email has become a primary method of communication between enterprises and their constituencies, so will social networking sites especially for advertising and ecommerce.Business intelligence information can be used to identify opportunities for competitive advantage. However, information technology itself can be an enabler of competitive advantage, especially when there are opportunities to digitize products or deliver information products electronically. In such cases, business strategy is inseparable from information technology strategy.Information technology comprises the analytical and operational application systems, databases, and technical infrastructure (hardware and networks) of an enterprise. Not all computer technologies are information based. Computer technology is used for process control applications in special purpose equipment. However, connectivity is essential as applications become more integrated. As digital construction and manufacturing practices develop through such technologies as computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), the processes, the control of processes, and the products and/or services delivered by processes all rely upon information technology for connectivity.For example, in the manufacturing industry, not only can design and manufacturing work be conducted through integrated CAD/CAM processes with electronic linkages to carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, but the entire project and process management activities can be monitored electronically from ideation to product delivery.Through technologies such as electronic data interchange and electronic funds transfer, data and both digital and information products flow through information supply and demand chains in parallel to material supply and product and/or service demand chains. Within the enterprise, data flows through information value chains from supply chains and to demand chains.Developing an information technology strategy document is essential for describing the requirements and for educating users because:
The impact is enterprise or organizational unit wide and other elements of strategy cannot be implemented without it Administrative activities, such as legal, finance, and human resources, and operational activities, such as research and development, procurement, manufacturing or equivalent, distribution, marketing, sales, and service depend on information technology – analytical and operational systems support both administrative and operational functions The time frames, expenditures, risks, and magnitude of efforts are usually larger and more complicated than other initiatives and must be clearly understood; information technology projects have a tendency to go out of control and under deliver – therefore, contingency plans are always necessary The subject matter can be complicated if not well explained Information technology strategy is usually packaged as a separate but related document to the strategic plan. It is deployed and executed through specific programs and projects that develop new or enhance or maintain existing application systems, databases, and technical infrastructure.Large information technology development projects are usually cross-functional, and may be part of a broader initiative sponsored by multiple functions collectively. Broader initiatives that have information technology components include:
Market research and development Product research and development Infrastructure research and development for processes and information delivery For example – for the development of a:
Digital manufacturing system integrating both research and development and sales and production activities (sponsors: Manufacturing and Sales functions – impact is on Research and Development, Procurement, Manufacturing, Distribution, Sales, and Service functions) Financial, managerial, and regulatory accounting and reporting system (sponsor: Finance function – impact is enterprise wide) Human resource management system (sponsor: Human Resources function – impact is enterprise wide) Sales tracking system (sponsor: Sales function – impact is on all salespeople enterprise wide) Some projects can be solely for the Information Technology function, in which case it is a customer of itself.Steering committees should be established for major programs and projects representing the various impacted functions in order to resolve cross-functional barriers. Major programs should come under the review of a planning and policy committee at the enterprise level.Information technology strategy formulation is a project in its own right at the enterprise or organizational unit level. Very large projects are grouped as a program of inter-related components under a program manager. Projects can be stand alone also. A single project can deliver one or more application systems and related databases and technical infrastructure, or multiple projects may be required depending upon complexity.For example, when launching a new product, it may be necessary to conduct marketing, product, and infrastructure development projects that include the delivery of new systems, and upgrades to existing systems. However, if an addition to the product line is launched at a later time, a new project or set of projects may be required to enhance or maintain the current systems, or even develop new ones.The work breakdown structure for downstream development, enhancement, and maintenance projects decomposes into planning, analysis, design, construction, implementation, and performance measurement phases. The performance measurement phase can be conducted in parallel with the other phases, and each must end with a performance review. A feedback loop to future planning activities must be established so that lessons learned from the past can be reflected in future initiatives.Meeting the cost and schedule requirements is always a major consideration. Hence, “meeting the date” is a frequent requirement for project success. However, after implementation, the scope of what was delivered and its quality is usually remembered more than when. In anticipation of the need to make changes after implementation, an adaption project may be necessary to tune, standardize, and integrate the deliverables.The planning phase is conducted at the enterprise, organizational unit, or program levels for one or more projects depending upon size and complexity. However, each application system and related databases and technical infrastructure is delivered through a project with distinct analysis, design, construction, and implementation phases. Each phase always begins with a detailed planning activity to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately. The work breakdown structure does not preclude the use of iterative methodologies within each phase for rapid application development and prototyping. Development, enhancement, and maintenance of websites can be very rapid, and heavily interactive with user involvement, when the appropriate tools are used.Key questions and deliverables by information technology strategy project and downstream phases include:Strategy project (enterprise and organizational unit levels):Key questions:
How does information technology enable business strategy? What are the investment priorities? Deliverables include:
Information technology architecture (applications, data and databases, and technical infrastructure) High level project phasing and plans Planning phase (enterprise, organizational unit, and program levels):Key questions:
What are the administrative functions’ systems and information needs? What are the operational functions’ systems and information needs? What are the priorities for the candidate analytical systems? What are the priorities for the candidate operational systems? Deliverables include:
Process models Function models Data models Information models Economic evaluation Scope of analysis projects and schedules Analysis phase (project level):Key questions:
How do processes, functions, and systems fit together? How do systems processes and functions relate to enterprise processes and functions? How do systems processes and functions and enterprise processes and functions fit together? Deliverables include:
Functional requirements Economic evaluation Scope of design projects and schedules Design phase (project level):Key questions (by system):
What are the system’s functional requirements? What are the system’s technical requirements? What is the total cost of ownership and benefits (tangible and intangible)? Deliverables include (by system):
Application system specifications Data and database specifications Technical infrastructure specifications Scope of construction project and schedule Total cost of ownership/benefit analysis Construction phase (project level):Key questions (by system):
Is the system being constructed according to design? If not, what change orders are required, and why? Deliverables include (by system):
Tested application system and interfaces, databases, and technical infrastructure Trained users Implementation phase (project level):Key questions (by system):
What are the costs and schedule relative to plan? What is the scope relative to plan? What is the quality relative to plan When will the benefits be realized relative to plan? What adjustments for tuning, standardization, and integration are required relative to plan? What are the current anticipated enhancement requests? What are the current anticipated maintenance requests? What are the lessons learned for the future? Deliverables include (by system):
Working application system and interfaces, databases, and technical infrastructure List of enhancement requests List of maintenance requests Performance measurement report As enterprises become more dependent upon the internet for connectivity with constituencies, it is essential to develop, enhance, and maintain the information technology strategy on an ongoing basis. The strategy must emphasize connectivity through the data arteries as digital and information products become more pervasive.Formulating information technology strategy is an enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) competency.
Technology spending for hardware, software and consulting services accounts for a significant portion of most health care providers budgets today, especially since the Obama Stimulus Plan and HITECH Act are incentivizing providers to implement electronic health records. In a perfect world, technology works perfectly, improves efficiency and the quality of care and makes life easier for the provider. However, the real world is not perfect and things can, and do, go wrong with technology products and services after you purchase and/or license them from third party vendors. Technology contracts generally are written by the vendors and consultants. Unfortunately, many technology contracts fall short of giving providers adequate protection and often contain hidden pitfalls and costs. Despite this fact, many providers never give these contracts to experienced health lawyers to help them negotiate better terms and protections for their high-tech investments BEFORE signing. This is a potentially costly practice. Every health care provider should be concerned with at least the following FOUR KEY ISSUES, which should be addressed in any technology contract:Warranties and Limitations of Liability: Despite elaborate sales presentations, technology contracts typically disclaim most, if not all, warranties and limit the liability of vendors to only refunding all or part of the purchase or license price paid for the technology. Such refunds are inadequate to protect the average provider when problems arise. A technology vendor should be required to give a written warranty in the contract that its product will perform in accordance with documented standards and for a reasonable period of time. At a minimum, this time period should be long enough for the provider to evaluate the technology in its operations. A better solution is to require a warranty for the useful life of the technology, or as long as there is a support and maintenance service agreement in place. A vendor also should not be allowed contractually to limit its liability on default only to return of the purchase price. If a provider suffers actual damages caused by the technology, the vendor should be required, in writing, to stand behind its product and services and reimburse such damages. A reasonable compromise is to require the vendor at least to tender the limits of its insurance coverage, which creates minimal additional risk to the vendor while better protecting the provider.Payments & Performance: A provider should not agree to pay the full purchase price up front, as is often a contract requirement, leaving the vendor with little incentive to complete its responsibilities. The parties should mutually agree in advance upon a project timetable with milestone targets for delivery and implementation of the technology. Payments should be made in installments conditioned upon reaching the targets. In addition, providers should build in testing rights, in order to evaluate whether the technology is performing as promised. The provider always should have the final say in whether a test provides a successful outcome and whether the final payment should be made to the vendor.Support and Maintenance: A technology hardware purchase or software license is only as good as the support and maintenance that goes along with it. The vendor should be willing to provide support for at least a defined useful life of the technology. Several questions should be answered in a written support agreement. Are updates or upgrades provided without additional charge? Will the vendor perform on-site or off-site support and maintenance? Will the provider pay a monthly fee plus an hourly charge or is there only an hourly charge? Does the hourly charge differ depending on when or what level of support is needed? Do the charges increase over the term of the support agreement? What is the vendor agreeing to support? Will changes made to the technology by the provider automatically terminate the warranty or support obligations? Unless the contract is specific regarding essential issues, a provider may find itself paying for less or different support and/or maintenance services than needed or expected.Confidentiality: Confidentiality of patient health information is a critical issue. Federal HIPAA law has a variety of privacy and security rules providers and their business associates must follow. In addition, some states, including Florida, have enacted legislation that requires entities that conduct business in the state and which maintain computerized data that contains personal information to provide notice to any resident if there is a breach of security. A technology contract should specify if the vendor will have access to any of the confidential patient information. A health care provider must require the vendor and its employees to maintain the confidentiality of such information under federal and many state laws. The technology contract also should expressly protect the confidentiality of provider trade secrets and other proprietary information to which a vendor or consultant may have access.Although technology contracts may appear intimidating, as they frequently are presented by vendors in small print and columned format, leading providers to believe they are non-negotiable forms, this is not the case in most instances. Investing the time and resources to have a health law attorney experienced in technology contracting review and help to negotiate contracts for hardware purchases, software licenses, maintenance and support, as well as technology consulting services, can save providers significant expense, disappointment and damages should the technology products or services not perform as promised.
Many people say that the business drives the technology whereas some people say that the technology drives the business. It is really unknown that which is really responsible for what and I must say that the emergence of the information technology has really made it even more complex. All the people who are involved in the business as well as the technology are really in dilemma that which theory is correct. However I have different ideas. I feel that sometimes the technology drives the business and sometimes the business drives the technology. In fact it is right to say that the business and technology are interdependent. I would like to prove the same with the help of this article.Just think that when it was decided that each company should have a board of directors. I must say that this is really a very old practice. Even the ancient Romans too had this in their administration. I really feel that this indicate that the technology came afterwards and hence business need lead to the evolution of the technology. For example the telegraph became famous because of the Reuters. In deed it was the biggest news agency in the world which first used the telegraph for their work. There are many more examples.The industrial revolution which brought about the great change in the field of the business was ignited due to the invention of the steam engine. This really made the world of business grow fore fold throughout the world. This gives us the indication that the technology played an important role for business to become global. In fact the technology is responsible for the globalization of the business.But this does not mean that the technology drives the business. Yes, you can say that the technology increases the speed at which the business activities are performed. But saying that the business is driven by the technology is still not correct.Let me explain you another side of this topic. You know why the telegraph was discovered. Yes this happened because the world of business needed this. The Reuters were the first to use the telegraph and they become the best in the world. Hence can we say that the technology works as the cutting edge so that one business leads over the other? Yes this is really the truth and this time we are absolutely right. This is really the main thing about the relationship between the technology and the business.One can only say that with the help of technology you can win the race which is on among the rivalry businessmen. Let’s think about the issue of the first paragraph and I am quiet confident to say that sometimes the business is driven by the technology and sometimes the technology comes into vicinity because of the business needs.
Newer, faster, shinier – these are all things that every product manager wants their product to be. Our hearts are filled with product lust when we see other products, in our space or not, that have the latest & greatest bells and whistles. Oh if only our product could have that cool new technology also. Hang on a minute, it turns out that our products might actually be more successful if they don’t have that cool new technology…Life Support For Products
If we can get over that new technology lust thing, then perhaps we can talk rationally about this. It turns out that if you really want to help your company’s bottom line, then what your product might really need is incremental innovation, not revolutionary innovation.I’m not a dreamer – I know that VHS tapes, typewriters, and CRT televisions are not going to be making a sudden comeback anytime soon. The harsh, cold reality is that the technology that your product is based on is eventually going to up and die one day. A product manager’s job is to realize this and to attempt to push that day off into the future as far as he / she possibly can.Harvard’s Dr. Mary Tripsas has looked into just how this can be done. She believes that product managers can work to proactively manage the innovation endgame.What this means for your product is that continuing improvements to extend the life of its technology, particularly once you realize just how attractive the profit margins on the old technology are, can be a wise business decision – and not necessarily a reflection of narrow-mindedness of a product manager who is unwilling to see the future.Making The Technology Jump – Or Not
Ultimately a product manger is responsible for the success of his / her product. When it comes to the technology that the product is build using, the product manager’s #1 goal has to be to find ways to extend the life of the product while still continuing to make the maximum amount of profit.As a new technology arrives on the scene, the product manager needs to keep the old product alive long enough that the company can design, develop, and launch new products that contain the new technologies. The key is to finding out HOW to go about doing this.Customers Come First
The secret to knowing how best to time your jump to a new technology is to watch your customers. Our customers come in all shapes and sizes and they all have different levels of tolerance for dealing with the risk that new technologies can bring to the table.What you need to realize as a product manager is that your customers are all going to be moving at different speeds. Sure, some will start asking about a new technology the first time that they read about it in a trade rag; however, the vast majority of your customers are more focused on running their business than what technology your product is built on.Generally, adopting a product that is built using new technology will require a little or a lot of investment on your customer’s part in order to be able to support the new technology. The larger the investment, the longer most of your customers will want to put off making it.How Product Mangers Can Balance Both Worlds
It is the responsibility of the product manager to come up with ways that your customers can gradually move into the future using new technologies on their own schedule.One way to do this is to borrow ideas from the new technology and start to incorporate them into the existing old technology product in order to extend its life. An example of this would be the Toyota Prius. It’s really a gasoline car that has a battery that it can use some of the time. The world is not quite ready for an all electric car and so by adding new technology to the type of car that we already have we will be able to get a little closer to the future.Old products can also be used to create a bridge that will allow customers to travel to the future. These types of products combine elements of both old and new technologies. I own a great example of this type of product: a hybrid VCR / DVD player. As DVD players started to take over the market, I was hesitant to get one because of the enormous investment in children’s movies on VHS tape that I had made. However, the VHS / DVD combo player was the perfect solution for me – I could continue to play my VHS tapes while at the same time I could start to buy DVDs.Final Thoughts
Product Managers don’t have to rush to incorporate every new technology into their products. Instead, understand your customer and learn when THEY need new technologies to be made available to them.In the end, a product manager needs to keep a careful balance between the technologies that his / her product currently uses and the new technologies that are arriving on the scene. Your career and the ultimate success of your company depends on the success of new products, but they have to be funded by making keeping your current products successful.Don’t think of your older products as being so-called “cash cows” that exist to be milked of their profits until they can be discarded. Instead, view them as stepping stones to future products that should be maintained and upgraded for as long as is reasonable in order to maximize profits while at the same time buying the firm time to get products that use the new technology right.Product managers who can balance the arrive of new technology with extending the life of products that use older technology will have have found yet another way that great product managers make their product(s) fantastically successful.
Advancement in technology has made the world go “gaga”. As far as technology is concerned, you can expect the unexpected or imagine the unimaginable. The world has left the stage of crude implementation. Every facet of life has been touched and affected by technology. The bewilderment of everyone is that existing technologies are fast becoming obsolete by the day; courtesy of advancement in technology. This article discusses the effects of emerging technology on the society.Technology has affected and is still affecting people of all age brackets from all over the world. You can imagine the formats in which toddlers’ toys and items for old people are made these days. They are given touch of modernity to let them have the feel of the innovations the mind of the human person is capable of.Internet TechnologyLet us begin with Information Technology. Gone are the days when people melted for fear of where to get information or data for their usage. Whatever information you think you need has been well written out for you on the Internet. “Internet is the world on the computer”. The internet has a wealth of information on every area of human endeavour. It is a safe place of consultation or reference for students as well as professors. The internet is a place individuals and enterprise run to locate the information they need. For instance, when you need any service, just log into the Internet, and you will see one million and one individuals and organisations who render such services. Whatever it is you need, you can find it on the internet.The world wide web as an aspect of technological advancement, has made the production and sharing of information a breeze. With the proper use of the internet, businesses that took “ages” to be accomplished are now executed within a twinkle of an eye. Even though the internet has numerous advantages, it has some disadvantages too. A lot of unhealthy materials are available on the internet. And these to the detriment of innocent minds. In as much as good people post relevant information on the net for the use of those who need them, people with bad intentions also post harmful materials on the internet. Materials on how to indulge in bad things abound on the internet. This is because a large part of the internet is not censored.Technological advancements have positive and negative effects on us. Let us talk about other facets of latest technologies and their effects.Nano technologyNano technology, like the Internet technology is spreading like a wild fire and its future effects are unimaginable. Nano technology spreads through large parts of human life. In the area of human health, nano technology is used for the treatment of cancer. It is used through the infrared to dismantle cancer tumors. Besides the health sector where nano technology has proved its relevance, it is also a force in the electronic sector. With nano, devices or applications of different types and sizes can be built. As a matter of fact, the military seems to be using the nano technology than anyone else. They are projecting its usage for combat, espionage and so forth. Nano technology has unimaginable possibilities. If care is not taken, without nano technology, a lot of damages could be achieved. And the world that has been built for many years might be destroyed within a few moment.Energy TechnologySo much has come out under this category. We have the solar energy, the wind powered plants, hydrogen battery technology. These have proved really useful in place of their alternative technologies. They have helped to break monopoly of various power sectors. Many homes in the US and Europe power their homes with solar energy. This and others are fruits of alternative energy. As good as these are, they come with some environmental hazards. They generate a level of pollutions in our environments like air and water pollution and heat generation to mention but a few.In a nutshell, as good and important as modern technologies are, efforts should be made to curb their negative impacts. Whenever there is a technological innovation, efforts should be made to forestall its negative impacts on the society.Do you want to read more? Visit us at http://www.latest-tech.damisagurus.com
Homebuilders who aren’t interested in offering technology integration as part of their business model are now firmly in the minority. This point is proven by research from the CEA’s annual “State of the Builder Study,” which was compiled in conjunction with the NAHB Research Center. It states that 85 percent of builders believe technology is important in the marketing of a new home. The applications of this technology are extremely compelling to homebuyers: entertainment, whole-home control, security and more that can come with their new house, instead of them hunting for it on the aftermarket.Clearly, in these extremely competitive times, the time is now to embrace technology (if you haven’t already). And thanks to some retrofit technology that’s on the way, it’s effectively yesterday! Allow me to elaborate.Structured wiring and powerline
Wherever possible, structured wiring is a must for the 21st century home, bundling all of the home’s communications wiring into one coherent system. These bundles can include wiring for home networking, telephone, video, audio, alarms, infrared remote control and more. Running these wires before the walls are closed is more cost-effective and less disruptive than ripping up walls to do so at a later date. These bundles also serve as a Trojan horse, giving builders the opportunity to approach the homebuyer with new technological offerings as they become available.Structured wiring has some inherent advantages compared to more slapdash wiring installations. With all of the cables running back to a central wiring panel, it’s easy to change how and what each individual cable is connected to and what it is used for. Structured wiring also makes troubleshooting a snap, since each of the cables can be isolated and tested for problems. Furthermore, because all the cables run back to the central wiring panel, they can all be connected to the same source without the need for some outlets to pass through more splitters and splices than others. This greatly improves the consistency of signals.Structured wiring isn’t a good fit for every builder or every situation, however. With that in mind, here’s some great news. If you’re not willing to commit to structured wiring, a new option that leverages the electrical wiring in a home to transmit audio, data and more is on the horizon. This technology will allow you to retrofit your existing housing inventory at a reasonable cost and with minimal disruption to add a fresh twist for wooing homebuyers. The system will also provide an alternative way to offer some technology to homebuyers if you aren’t yet investing in full-blown structured wiring for new builds. A multi-room audio system using this technology will be available later this year with other solutions certain to follow.The first feasible multi-room audio system using powerline technology will be available later this year with other solutions certain to follow. If you hear the name Renovia in the near future, you now have the inside scoop.Explore Quick and Easy Demos
Demonstrating technology, particularly architectural consumer electronics like multi-room audio, has long been a thorny issue for home builders. A prominent objection is the expense. So consider this inexpensive trick to introduce the multi-room audio concept into your model home at a fraction of the cost of installing a full-fledged multi-room audio system. It starts by utilizing the consumer’s own music with an appliance they know and understand: the iPod.Multi-room audio today is a more compelling new-home option than ever because it ties directly into the exploding concept of “My Music” among consumers. The advent of portable music players like the iPod has enabled music collections to go virtually anywhere their owners go. Many home buyers would welcome the extension of “My Music” to an entire home. By providing a simple music demonstration, you can entice home buyers by showing them how uncomplicated, powerful and fun a multi-room audio system can be.Simply install an amplified source input and connect it to an iPod dock and in-wall or in-ceiling speakers. Set up a location in the room where an on-wall audio control pad would go. You don’t need to install a live control pad, just a blank plate covered with a transparent graphic that shows what a control interface would look like. Install this demo in the most public of spots in the home-the kitchen. Allow the home buyer to plug his or her iPod into the dock and hear the music instantly over the speakers. The demo will show the home buyer how easy it would be to hear “My Music” over the home’s audio system. It will make an immediate “I want that” impact on the home buyer: “Here’s something that will make life in this house simpler and richer.”This unique selling approach is highly affordable. Roughly speaking, a pair of speakers runs $200, an iPod dock runs $49, and an amplified in-wall local source runs $125. Add a nominal cost for speaker wire and installation, and you’ve got a slick demo that doesn’t break the bank.Find Your Digital Path
Believing technology is important, as the aforementioned CEA-NAHB study found, doesn’t make it easy. The complexity of choosing and installing home technology systems and products has always been the biggest hurdle for homebuilders, and it remains so. Low-voltage integration of consumer electronics products requires specialized skills, especially when dealing with proprietary technology platforms, rapidly changing technologies and user preferences, and the unique programming and configuration models many systems employ. Acquiring these skills-either by partnering with a local electronic systems contractor (ESC) or hiring your own talent-can be expensive and time-consuming. The builder just wants it to be profitable.
The current slowdown is giving us all a chance to reconsider, reflect and reboot what we do and how we do it. Right now is the time for the builder to consider this: What kind of technology offerings do my potential homebuyers want? Once you definitively answer that question, you can build a new, updated strategy from there-before you make any investments that may or may not be as focused and efficient as they should be.Homebuyers in 2009 are far more sophisticated about technology than they were even five years ago. Smart phones, multi-room entertainment systems, networked PCs, HDTVs, iPod docks, GPS systems and powerful universal remotes, among other products and concepts, have changed the way homeowners and homebuyers view technology. It’s no longer considered a convenience or a luxury to be “connected.” It’s now a lifestyle necessity. It’s something people expect, and it’s something that can and should be profitable for homebuilders.Identify what homebuyers care most about. Is it security, entertainment, energy management, convenience? A newly married twenty-something couple is probably going to get more excited about streaming music from their iPods all over the house, while a five-person family might want a dedicated home theater for movie nights and the ability to monitor security cameras from any TV in the house. Get a good sense of your target demographic’s needs, and explore and build your technology strategy and options from there.In-House or Partnerships?
One way larger builders are adding technology integration services is by hiring ESCs. These professionals often are members of the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), the main trade association for ESCs, which provides them training, certification and education. Both CEDIA and the CEA both offer a wealth of educational information for builders that includes best practices for technology installation.Ideally, every builder would be able to employ one or more in-house ESCs who could control the customer experience and installation process. Unfortunately, not every homebuilder has the resources to expand in this way, so long-term partnerships with reputable ESCs are the next best option.The worst nightmare for a builder is to hire an unfamiliar “tech guy” at the homeowner’s request who comes in, does the electronics and wiring installation, collects his check and is never heard from again. The builder is often left holding the bag, but unfortunately is simply not equipped to troubleshoot any sort of A/V or electronics systems issues. Homeowners don’t want to hear this, however.Before working with any independent ESC, demand that the ESC will be responsible for all follow-up service calls. The builder must be certain that the ESC will provide support over the long haul; if not, the installation should not proceed. By building a strong partnership with an ESC, the builder will gain a loyal and trusted A/V specialist on call who can provide punctual, effective service, rather than always scrambling at the last second to find someone to consult or, even worse, leaving it in the homeowner’s hands. Fortunately, collaboration between CEDIA, CEA and NAHB is at an all-time high and each trade group provides resources for pairing up homebuilders with ESCs on a local level.Involvement early in projects allows the ESC to plan progressively not only with the builder but with the other trades in order to avoid costly and unnecessary changes to wiring, closet/outlet placement and other things that can affect electronics installation and performance.Regardless of whether services are contracted or offered in-house, it’s wise for builders to have an understanding of “good, better, best” technology solutions for their customers. By offering coherent and appealing electronics packages, you can better keep on-time and on-budget. Avoid customization in all but the largest luxury homes, where price is secondary to the homebuyer and the sky is the limit.Whether through an in-house staff or a partnership with an independent ESC, home builders need to find the technology models that work best for them financially and logistically. Ignoring technology is no longer an option when dealing with today’s homebuyers. Fortunately, those of us in the electronics industry are willing and able to help builders get where they need to go. We’re willing and eager to do great work for you-both in your upcoming projects, and to help you sell your existing inventory.
Denise Robbins, a software engineering manager by day, integrates her knowledge of computers and technology into all her techno-romantic thriller novels. Her published works include It Happens in Threes and Killer Bunny Hill with Connect the Dots and Never Tempt Danger scheduled for release in 2010.I saw down with Denise and asked about the unique combination of technology and fiction.Your computer background has obviously been a big factor in the plots of your books. How did you become interested in technology?
It all started when I was a kid. In elementary school we went on a field trip to an electronics shop. In there, we saw all kinds of cool gadgets like small calculators, electronic games, and then… a computer. Holy cow! I could play chess on the computer.About that same time, my dad brought home a modem. I’m not talking the modems you pick up today that fit in the palm of your hand, we’re talking a behemoth of a machine that looked like a typewriter with a phone coupler attached to it.Some readers may not understand the significance of computers in fighting crime. Explain how important an understanding of new technologies can be in staying ahead of the bad guy.
Computers are used a great deal more than people think in regards to fighting crime. One simple example is the FBI’s website that gives the public information on some of the criminals they are searching for. This website not only informs the public, but now there are large numbers of people on the lookout for the ‘bad guys.’Local police departments have computers in every patrol car, which can be used in different scenarios. Remember the last time you were pulled over? The police officer can put your license plate into the computer and check if the car was stolen, your driving record, or even your car registration. A police officer making a routine stop may not seem like any big deal or use for computer technology, but what you may not realize is that the same computer that told the officer the car was stolen, can also provide arrest and warrant information. Information attained via the computer by the officer makes him/her more capable of making the right decision of how to approach the situation.Computers also give law enforcement the resources and technology needed to keep up with modern day criminals in the cyber world. Some criminals steal people’s identities or purchase goods with someone else’s credit cards over the Internet. Internet felons commit all sorts of crimes such as downloading child pornography, even trying to convince minors to meet them somewhere, which could result in abduction. Without computers, it would be nearly impossible to catch felons of this nature. Through computers law enforcement agencies can watch these actions and make the web safer.Because of computers and instant access to large amounts of information, law enforcement agents have the power to turn a possible dangerous situation into a much safer one sooner rather than later.Explain a little about nanotechnology and its current uses.
Nanotechnology is a technology based on the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules to build structures to complex, atomic specifications. The nanoscale is about a thousand times smaller than micro that is, about 1/80,000 of the diameter of a human hair.Items already available in the marketplace include: burn and wound dressings, water filtration, dental-bonding agent, coatings for easier cleaning glass, bumpers and catalytic converters on cars, protective and glare-reducing coatings for eyeglasses and cars, sunscreens and cosmetics, stain-free clothing and mattresses, ink, longer-lasting tennis balls, and lightweight and stronger tennis rackets.A ski jacket produced by Franz Ziener GmbH&Co is based on nanotechnology. The windproof and waterproof properties are not obtained by a surface coating of the jacket but by the use of nanofibres.The company InMat makes long-lasting tennis-balls by coating the inner core with clay polymer nanocomposites. These tennis-balls have twice the lifetime of conventional balls.What do you see happening with nanotechnology in the future?
Today, we have just scratched the surface on what nanotechnology will do for us. There are many nanotechnology applications in research and development. In the field of medicine, there will be Qdots that identify the location of cancer cells in the body and Nanoparticles that deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells to minimize damage to healthy cells. Can you imagine not having to expose the entire body to chemotherapy but only the part that requires the treatment?Nanotechnology is huge in the science and technology area as well, in particular, manmade diamonds. In recent years, there has been research into producing manmade diamonds, no, not cubic zirconia, but “real” diamonds grown in a lab and not in nature. Manmade diamonds is a huge breakthrough that will only get bigger. The diamond has the largest thermal conductivity of any material. With every improvement in computer chip technology, the machines get faster and hotter. At some point the chips and computer insides will melt. Diamonds are the answer for faster computers without the heat factor. For the same thermal conductivity reason, manmade diamonds could help make lasers of extreme power. The material could allow a cell phone to fit into a watch and iPods to store 10,000 movies, not just 10,000 songs.I could go on, but you get the idea. Nanotechnology is the next great wave and I’m hoping it hits soon.What are some of the challenges in blending cutting-edge technology with fiction?
The challenge in creating techno-fiction is knowing how to keep the story moving at the same time giving enough of a visual picture of the technology so the reader understands without dumping boring information on top of their head.It seems like the field of technology is more of a man’s world. How did you end up in the field and why do you think there aren’t more women involved?I think since my dad was in technology, not the same as I am involved today, I was destined for computers.Taking a job with a government contractor for the Department of Defense hooked me on technology. I was part of a team that built software for use in military medical facilities. It was when I taught computer programs and programming to adults that I found my love for all that ‘geeky’ computer stuff. There is nothing like watching the spark in somebody’s eyes as the light bulb goes on inside their head after they have learned to write code and see the result.Why there are not more women in science and technology is a question that has been asked quite a lot in recent years. One simple answer is how parents and teachers present information technology professions and other occupations to their daughters and students. It is about encouraging and providing role models.
Another explanation for the lack of women in information technology careers is misconception and preference. Why do I say that as if they are com-mingled? Many people believe working in IT is solitary. They imagine someone sitting in front of a computer eight hours or more a day with no one to talk with. Ask any of the engineers that work for and with me and they will let you know that is not the case.In general, women prefer to work with people while men prefer to work with things. With the solitary misconception out there, many women are choosing other careers.Do you have a lot of male readers because of your interesting plots? How do you draw them in?
To be honest, I am not certain that I have too many male readers yet, but I have a few and I want more. I think once the guys know that my novels are based on interesting and real technology, have suspense and mystery woven in with action and adventure that they will want to read them. All it takes is a few good men… to spread the word.While my novels are fiction, when my hero or heroine is shooting a weapon, all readers should know that I have done the research and had the experience several times. My first time shooting anything, but a shotgun at skeet (of which I am a very good shot), was when I wrote It Happens in Threes. I had to know what it felt like. I contacted a friend who taught me all the various right and wrongs and who enjoyed seeing me struggle filling a clip and always forgetting to take the safety off.Right now, my attempt at “drawing them in” is to give a guy I see a copy of the book, ask him to read it, and let me know what he thinks. So far, the response has been positive. The other little tidbit that helps draw the men in as that I have other men review and edit my novels for the male perspective. It always helps me when Steve or David say, “No guy would say that.” Then they wrinkle their noses and slash away at my work. I am very grateful. I also have friends who are former military and they correct some of my ideas as well.How do you handle the fine line between giving too much technological information and making the story flow?
This is an excellent question. Computer stuff can be very dry and boring, take it from me. What I do is take technology and introduce the readers to it in small pieces, like breadcrumbs of information, so that technology is part of the mystery or part of the solution in the puzzle. I take the technology and break it down so my characters show you just enough to make you understand, and at the same time get curious. Wait until you find out about nanotechnology in Killer Bunny Hill. I’ll give you a hint – Diamonds aren’t just a girl’s best friend.Where do you come up with your story ideas?
My story ideas come from various places and most the time it is just a matter of sitting down with pen and paper and asking myself about the particular characters I have just identified in my mind. Sometimes, as in the case of my second novel Killer Bunny Hill, the seed for novel will just hit me while flying across the country on a plane. In the case of my fourth novel Never Tempt Danger, the idea came from a dream. Those are just the beginnings, now I have to construct a story line and that takes a little more effort.Sometimes I take from my own experiences with technology, but that is still limited in scope. So what do I do? Well, here is my answer.I did some research once for work when I accidentally ran across an article on ‘manmade diamonds’ and using them as computer chips. As I continued to read the story, I found out about an organization known as DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. This agency is the central research and development office for the Department of Defense. They fund all kinds of technology research in order to keep our military technologically superior and in turn keep us safe and military personnel safe. Cool stuff!Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today, Denise!