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“Fifty cars …” changed my worldview

Posted by Emily Mason on August 12, 2014

Recently, I was browsing in the closing down sale of a shop that sold a varied mix of gifts, books, and cards and stumbled across “Fifty Cars That Changed The World”, as compiled by London’s Design Museum. It is obvious how cars have changed our lives, but I was intrigued to find out what ‘changing the world’ meant in this context and which cars would qualify. I guess my curiosity was, in part, to see if I had ever owned any of the exalted group!

I picked up a copy, and began to flick through the pages. Eventually, I was sufficiently embarrassed by the amount of time that I had been standing there to actually buy a copy and bring it home. It turns out that not all of them were successes, but each does represent a turning point in terms of technology, e.g. front wheel rather than rear wheel drive, style or popularity. Or, in some cases, disasters that changed the fortunes of companies, for example the Austin Allegro – called “the vital stumble” in the history of British Leyland.

One thing is clear. None of these cars appeared out of thin air. All built on, and adapted, what had gone before. And the same is true in all industries. Times change and products evolve. Companies adjust to new circumstances and move on, seeking growth and success with new ideas and better ways of working. Innovations enable organisations to outcompete and differentiate from others operating in the same market. Usually, the advantage is temporary and overtaken – necessitating new inventions and adaptations to stay in the race; 0ften inspired by customer needs and expectations as much as brilliant flashes of inspiration.

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Transforming through innovation and collaboration

Posted by Emily Mason on August 7, 2014

There’s no escaping the fact that mobile technology - or mobility - has become a part of everyday life for most people. And for Police in Wales, things are no different.

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Is that the result you expected?

Posted by Emily Mason on August 5, 2014

Often the result you expect to see from a shift isn’t the reality of what actually happened.

Individual Key Performance Indicators within each Key Performance Area (KPA) of the Cognito iQ Radar Chart are defined by you to be realistic goals for each of your workers. Of course, parts of a worker’s day won’t be productive - that is expected. But it’s when a worker is scheduled to do an 8 hour shift and only signs on for, say, 2 of those hours, that the Utilisation KPA would score poorly. Utilisation is measuring how they performed during the planned shift times, and not the actual time for which they were signed in.

In this example, it would still be possible to score well in the Productivity KPA, if the worker managed to do all of their allocated jobs and/or hit all of their SLAs within those two hours.

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M2M meets IoT – let’s talk!

Posted by Emily Mason on July 29, 2014

The growing tide of news and noise around the Internet of Things (IoT) suggests that we will be surrounded by machines endlessly chattering away to each other. Probably, exchanging vital information like how much milk you have used in the last week, and alerting your smartphone to the fact that your only remaining carton is on the verge of going sour.

Of course, it means much more than that, and will have some profound impacts and drive many changes, some as yet unknowable. Such are the lessons we have learned from previous experience with the creation of new networks, and intersecting points of intelligence – human or otherwise.

But, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is not, in itself, new. Point-to-point connections of equipment, with unattended fault reporting and remote diagnostics, have been a feature of high-value equipment for a long time. For example, IBM was including this kind of technology into its AS/400 systems as long ago as the late 1980s.

One of the limiting factors to widespread adoption, and a challenge facing the IoT as it is spread and seeks to become ubiquitous, is how to ensure that each node in the network is able to discover and communicate successfully with others to share data. This need for a common protocol, akin to HTTP underpinning the success of the world-wide web, has had a higher profile in the news over the last month with announcements relating to the UK’s Technology Strategy Board funded Hypercat project.

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What exactly does your team do all day?

Posted by Emily Mason on July 23, 2014

Ever been asked that question? Of course you have!

Your field workers are allocated 8 hour shifts, but how do they use that time? How much is used to deliver a service to the customer? And how much is wasted being idle?

The Cognito iQ Radar Chart, broken up into six Key Performance Areas (KPAs), gives us a clear picture of shift performance for any given worker or team, within their allocated shift time.

Within the Productivity section, the breakdown of daily activities shows productive versus non-productive time, and a corresponding score is given for that particular KPA.

Whilst this shows clearly and accurately how productive that worker has been during that shift, it may not be a representation of how the worker performs overall, and so each individual KPA score is aggregated into a single Performance Score.

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