John McDonald (of CloudOne) and Bill Soards (of AT&T) lead the Indiana Chamber’s Technology and Innovation Council. Read the duo’s column about the next steps in building the state’s tech ecosystem in the latest BizVoice.
Technology companies are relocating to and growing in portions of Indiana. The mission of the Indiana Chamber’s new Indiana Technology & Innovation Council is to support and expand those efforts.
The Chamber will utilize its policy, political affairs, event planning, research, communications and financial resources in collaboration with tech company leaders and organizations. The Indiana Technology & Innovation Council opens the door statewide to those wanting to join Chamber members, who will receive these expanded benefits as part of their current Chamber dues investment.
Chamber members can participate in upcoming open discussions on policy and programming priorities. Two committees – Tech Policy, and Program and Trends – comprised of representatives of member companies will develop a specific policy agenda and programming that supports existing efforts.
Full details are available in this press release. Mark Lawrance (email@example.com), who recently returned to the Chamber as Vice President of Engagement and Innovation Policy, will be the lead staff person.
“We’re excited to partner with tech companies and their leaders,” states Lawrance, “while offering a statewide platform to expand Indiana’s growing tech success story.”
It’s a catchy phrase to describe a day dedicated to fingers furiously pounding keyboards or mobile devices to grab the best deals on a plethora of holiday gifts.
PFSweb, a leading global provider of comprehensive eCommerce solutions, posted a cool infographic of 2015 Cyber Monday activity and how it compares to 2014.
Who did the spending and did it come from their digital devices or desktops? See for yourself.
But first, a couple highlights:
While I’m passionate about music, it’s rare that I don headphones and pop in a CD to inspire me during the workday. Perhaps I should change my tune.
Turns out there’s a melodious connection between music and productivity. Check out this Business Insider story to see – and hear – for yourself.
The story offers several approaches to boosting productivity. One involves choosing songs that feature sounds of nature:
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently discovered that adding a natural element could boost moods and focus.
Sounds of nature can mask intelligible speech just as well as white noise while also enhancing cognitive functioning, optimizing the ability to concentrate and increasing overall worker satisfaction, the researchers found. The mountain stream sound researchers used in their study also possessed enough randomness that it didn’t distract test subjects.
Other examples include listening to songs you enjoy, songs you don’t really care about (the horror!), songs without lyrics, songs with a specific tempo and songs played at medium volume.
David Combs, general manager of Ikelite, spoke with BizVoice about the intriguing history of the Indianapolis company and why it’s so successful. Some may find it odd that a company so loved by SCUBA divers would be based in Indiana, but hey, it’s been working since the 1960s!
Read the Indiana Ingenuity feature on this exceptional business in BizVoice.
Campus Technology, one of the top information sources for higher education news, recently presented its annual Innovators Awards. Four of the 12 national awards presented went to universities in the Hoosier state.
IT Infrastructure and Systems
Project: One.IU (OneCampus)
Project Lead: Eric Westfall, enterprise software architect
Vendors/technologies: Developed in-house, rSmart
Category description: IT Infrastructure and Systems (including, but not limited to): learning management systems; collaboration technologies and environments; learning space design/architecture/smart classrooms; classroom management and control systems; data security and authentication; networking; SaaS and cloud computing; telecommunications; digital repositories/digital libraries; high-performance computing; green technologies; disaster recovery and business continuity; help desk.
Student Systems and Services
Ball State University
Project: Ball State Achievements
Project Lead: Kay Bales, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Vendors/technologies: Developed in-house
Category description: Student Systems and Services (including, but not limited to): technology for career services; advising/online advising; technology for housing; physical security and emergency planning; eTextbooks/bookstore; instructional resources and library services; recruitment/eRecruitment.
Teaching and Learning
University of Notre Dame
Project: E-Portfolios With Evidenced-Based Badges
Project Lead: G. Alex Ambrose, associate professor of the practice and associate director of e-portfolio assessment
Vendors/technologies: Credly, Digication
Category description: Teaching and Learning (including, but not limited to): learning design/instructional design; immersive technologies; social software, Web 2.0; mobile learning; teaching in the smart classroom; collaboration tools; student assessment; student ePortfolios; lecture capture; eLearning; accessibility.
Ball State University
Project: The Traveler
Project Lead: Kyle Parker, senior software engineer for developing technologies
Vendors/technologies: Developed in-house
Category description: Education Futurists (including, but not limited to): visionary learning technology development; new program development; institutional reformation; trend spotters: technology and society.
Ball State’s reputation for offering top shelf communications curricula is impressive — especially when it comes to sports programming. The school just issued a release on its new Unified Media Lab (UML), and it looks like another state of the art addition to this tremendous program:
Ball State University students are producing a wide range of programing in the newly opened Video News Studio, the final piece of the $4 million Unified Media Lab (UML).
With many of the same features found in the newest professional broadcast studios, the Video News Studio includes green screen technology, animated graphics and other special effects, as well as an audio production booth for radio programming and podcasts.
Ball State President Paul W. Ferguson said the new studio within UML makes the university a national model in the educational experience for future journalists and strategic communicators.
During his recent State of the University address, Ferguson unveiled the Centennial Commitment strategic plan, which includes the three major themes of being student centered, community engaged and a model 21st century public research university. Entrepreneurial learning is a hallmark, built upon such experiences as those available in the Unified Media Lab and nearby facilities.
“This facility will enhance the education of not only journalists but the next generation of communication professionals,” Ferguson said. “Collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential for today’s job market, and this Unified Media Lab provides our students with more opportunities that will make them even more prepared for the ever-changing workplace.”
More than an innovative facility, the UML provides a centralized and immersive newsroom to educate future journalists in solid writing, reporting and storytelling through collaborative, cross-platform media organizations. It offers nearly 50 writing and editing stations for student-run media outlets. There is also a digital news desk to coordinate collaboration and classroom seating for an immersive learning experience.
“This newly completed lab is just part of a combination of integrated course work, sophisticated facilities, engaged faculty and immersive experiences to prepare today’s journalists for competitive and rapidly changing industries,” said Roger Lavery, dean of Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media (CCIM).
Student media operate independently and as cross-platform production teams. There are a printed newspaper, a printed magazine, daily television news programming, a radio station as well as online properties for each of these. The students also provide content for a central news website, Ball State Daily, and an app that offers breaking news, feature stories, commentary and a variety of multimedia content about campus life and surrounding communities.
Adjacent to UML, the Unified Media Advertising Sales and Creative Suite houses a team learning about advertising, sales and how to harness data to grow audiences and drive results. Student sales executives work with real clients, close deals and produce results.
Along the same corridor on the second floor of the Art and Journalism Building, the recently opened Holden Strategic Communications Center fosters a similar collaborative environment for public relations and advertising students. It is the home of two student-run agencies, Cardinal Communications and Adapt, as well as the student chapters of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the American Advertising Federation.
Technology improvements are generally associated with getting the same amount of productivity with fewer workers. But something called the “quartet effect” – with links back to the lyrics of the Grateful Dead – instead emphasizes enhancing what people do with their time. Governing reports:
In the foreword to David Dodd’s The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics, Robert Hunter, the band’s “lyricist in residence,” wrote that the song “Uncle John’s Band” represented “the first lyric I wrote with the aid of that newfangled gadget, the cassette tape recorder. I taped the band playing the arrangement and was able to score lyrics at leisure rather than scratch away hurriedly at rehearsals, waiting for particular sections to come around again.”
What Hunter was describing, of course, was an improvement in productivity resulting from the application of new technology. Productivity is usually measured in terms of the labor cost per unit of production, and in most cases improvement is achieved by using new technology to reduce head count. For instance, a steel mill that once employed 10,000 workers produces the same tonnage with only a thousand employees, bank tellers are replaced by ATMs and elevator operators become a thing of the past. But in Hunter’s application of new technology, no one’s position was eliminated. It’s an example of what has been called “the quartet effect” at work.
When you reduce the head count of a musical quartet, you have not improved its productivity. If what you wanted was the music of a quartet, you have destroyed the product. The technology Hunter employed is the kind that, rather than eliminating jobs, allows existing staff to make better use of their time and gives them the opportunity to create higher-quality products.
How is this relevant to government? For most local governments, public safety constitutes the largest single category of expenditures, typically accounting for about 60 percent of total costs. For states and for some local governments, education is the dominant cost category. But it’s important to remember that within these areas, personnel costs — the salaries and benefits of police officers, firefighters and school teachers — are the real cost drivers. Personnel costs typically represent 80 percent or more of the total cost of a police department, for example. Few would argue that taking cops off the streets or teachers out of classrooms improves productivity.
AAR, an aviation services and products company with 60 global locations — including Indianapolis — and Vincennes University have a partnership that is producing well-trained airline services technicians, mechanics and more.
These organizations held a “Tug and Tour” event at the Vincennes University Aviation Technology Center (ATC) at the Indianapolis International Airport Wednesday. We were able to attend, joined by educators, economic development officials, military veterans and others. The event featured a tour of an aircraft hangar, as well as lunch on a Boeing 737. As Samuel L. Jackson can attest, lunch on a plane is far superior to snakes on a plane (my apologies; I’ll show myself out).
The ATC features advanced aviation labs, testing equipment and elaborate maintenance hangars — and class sizes are limited to 25 students.
It was enlightening to learn about the partnership and how well-prepared these students are as they jump from the classroom and hands-on training into well-paying careers. Additionally, AAR offers paid internships to many Vincennes students in the program. VU instructor Ed Briggeman explained the industry is thriving, and that students who complete VU’s Aviation Maintenance program have many opportunities through the school’s myriad partners and connections. Furthermore, the program prepares students for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification and entry-level employment. A certified mechanic can make $50,000 – $55,000 per year, and the program yielded 16 mechanics in July — and by August 15 of them were placed into positions.
Students can also pursue training in aviation flight, which paves the (run)way for careers as pilots and instructors. Unlike most training facilities that can charge $100 per hour, VU doesn’t charge its students to use its flight simulators. And VU’s Indianapolis program features a fleet of well-maintained aircraft (including Cessna 172 and 172RG, as well as multi engine training in a Piper Seminole).
In Indiana, we are blessed to have public and private colleges and universities that rival or exceed those in any other region of the country — and VU is a testament to that. For more on this program or to inquire about viewing the facility, contact Corinna Vonderwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A couple of nights ago, as I was idly passing time on my phone, I opened up the App Store and proceeded to download four or five new apps. Three of these were shopping-related. When asked if I wanted to receive notifications, I granted the applications permission. I quickly realized the danger of my decision. Less than 24 hours later, I was beginning to receive alerts, tempting me to view discounted items that would still inevitably accumulate to a steep amount if I made purchases every time I was notified of a sale.
This type of interactive commerce may very well be the future of shopping. An article on ReadWriteShop recently outlined three e-commerce tools that are setting the trend.
Apps such as these will make shopping and selling more accessible than ever. It will be interesting to see how advances in e-commerce shape purchasing trends—particularly apps that monitor spending habits and offer tailored recommendations. For a shopping-lover such as myself, a new level of self-control will certainly have to be developed, but I believe the benefits will outweigh the setbacks.