How Business Intelligence Can Automate Workflow
What drives a transportation company’s success? Is it a flawless on-time delivery system? Is it streamlined integration of safety best practices? Is it inventory status? Whichever of these KPIs (key performance indicators) your organization is looking at, BI (business intelligence) tools can enhance and expand each stakeholder’s capacity to view and analyze them in real-time and across functionalities (Source: http://www.inetsoft.com/products/). To illustrate some of the advantages for fleet managers of using BI, we’ll look at the experience Mesilla Valley Transport has had since implementing a robust BI to capture and manage KPIs.
Case Study: BI Supports Accountability at Mesilla Valley Transport (MVT)
There were clear motivating factors that led to the company reexamining the systems governing the managing of operations. For one thing, the system MVT had been using was pretty limited in terms of reporting capabilities. Desired data wasn’t stored. For example, while managers could see the last person who’d accessed data, they could not see if they had changed a value – making it possible for customer service representatives to change a delivery date of a late load and avoid detection. In addition to improving the veracity of data auditing, MVT also needed a more efficient way to capture data, correlate it from multiple operating systems, and synthesize it in a unifying database.
Querying works best if done from a secondary database, rather than directly from MVT’s transport management system (TMS). Another best practice for those bringing BI on board is to determine what KPIs need to be measured, so that secondary KPIs that may seem highly relevant to one division don’t end up driving the focus of what you’re analyzing. In other, as you would your battles, you must (wisely) pick your metrics. MVT developed BI incrementally, in stages. IT began generating reports and then KPIs were defined for specific managers or teams, based on their responsibilities. Examples of KPIs measured include: utilization, mpg, out-of-route, driver turnover, and on-time service.
MVT now has visual dashboards, accessible through a SharePoint web interface, which provide snapshots of the KPIs and workflow – micro and macro – most germane to any given user, so that when a glitch occurs (e.g., delayed or projected late loads, unassigned drivers, and out-of-route drivers) they can respond with greater alacrity and confidence.
What They See
Fault codes: Engine fault are reparsed into a “human readable” form.
Inspections: Tire pressure, number of vehicles, and tread depth, is captured for every truck that drives through their front gate of its facilities. Also, MTVs workflow checks each driver’s safety qualifications between check points, as well as any damage to vehicles and who was responsible.
Accessorials: This dashboard shows customer service managers where accessorial charges can be collected and the BI platform queries that identify opportunities for detention.
Driver portal: Drivers can view performance metrics available to fleet managers and access driver settlements and payroll stubs (Source:http://www.ccjdigital.com/business-intelligence-tools-can-drive-accountability-automate-workflow/).
5 Tips for reducing your mobile bill
Mobile phones are great because it’s like having a tiny computer in your pocket. At the same time, the plans for these phones often cost a lot of money. Most people are paying $70 or more per month just for basic service. If you want to reduce your bill, then there are several things that you can do.
One of the biggest expenditures is data. Most people spend around $15 to $40 on data so that they can browse websites and download apps. The best way to save money is to opt out of a data plan and just use free WiFi. At the same time, that might be impossible because many smartphones must have an accompanying data plan, or you might need to check your email for work.
Another strategy is to mix your carrier’s data and WiFi. Use your carrier’s data for simple things like browsing websites and checking email. If you need to download an app or stream video, then wait until you’re around a free hotspot.
You should also check your data usage. If you have a 4GB data plan, but rarely go over 2GB, then it would be better to reduce your plan so that you pay less every month. Compression apps can also reduce how much data you need by taking away all of the extra data that websites usually crave.
Along with your data usage, you should also check your overall usage. Many people have unlimited plans that offer an unlimited amount of data, minutes and text messages, but that isn’t always necessary. Check your monthly usage through your carrier. Most of them offer tools that will show you how much you use the phone.
Fit your plan around your usage. If you just use 100 minutes a month, then there’s no reason to have an unlimited plan.
Going too low is another issue. Some people are worried about paying more money, which causes them to use the lowest level of service. If you are constantly paying overage fees, then it might be a good idea to increase your phone’s level of service. It will cost more per month, but you won’t have to pay the high overage fees.
It might be surprising to some people, but you can actually negotiate a better mobile bill. The majority of carriers are in fierce competition with each other, and they are afraid of losing any customers to an opposing company. Call the company and say that your bill is too high and you are thinking of leaving.
Most representatives will try their best to reduce your bill for about a year or two. For example, you might become eligible for a 20 or 30 percent discount in exchange for your continued patronage.
If negotiating doesn’t work, or if the bill is still too high, then switch carriers. Most carriers offer very low rates for new customers. If you want to pay the least per month, then consider prepaid phone plans. Most of them now allow you to keep your phone.
The only disadvantage is that you won’t get new phones for free, but the overall cost is significantly reduced.
Did you know that there are apps that will let you call or send text messages without using your plan? These apps allow you to leverage your data plan because the calls and messages will be considered data. If you have a high data plan or are near a free hotspot, then you can use your phone without worrying about overages.
This is great if you commonly have a lot of data left, or if you’re normally around a hotspot. You’ll still be able to use your phone without using your minutes or text messages. The majority of these apps are free, and the call quality for VoIP calls is just as good as a normal call.
Reducing your mobile bill is fairly easy if you’re willing to inspect your usage and change your smartphone habits. If you just change your plan toScratch Wireless where texting is FREE, use free data whenever possible and leverage your available resources, then you should be able to significantly reduce your mobile bill.
eBay Canceling Listings for iPhones With Flappy Bird Installed [iOS Blog]
Following the removal of Flappy Bird from the App Store, some entrepreneurial iPhone owners have listed their phones — with Flappy Birds installed — on eBay.
The listings have attracted attention from major media outlets, but eBay is actively canceling the listings because all smartphones and tablets sold on the auction site are required to be restored to factory settings. One user gave MacRumors the email that eBay sent him when it removed his listing.
After reviewing your eBay account, it appears that you have not followed eBay’s guidelines to list a device that can hold media or software. As a result, we’ve taken the following action:
– Listings have been removed.
– We have credited all associated fees except for the final value fee for your listing(s).
Smartphones and tablets must be restored to factory settings before they are allowed to be sold on eBay. Please remove all content from your device, including the game Flappy Bird, before you attempt to list your item again. Please be sure your current and future listings follow these guidelines, keeping in mind that additional listing violations could result in the suspension of your account.
We understand that you may have been unaware of these guidelines, and we encourage you to learn how to keep your experiences on eBay successful.
We appreciate your cooperation.
Flappy Birds creator Dong Nguyen said in an interview earlier today that his game became “an addictive product” and he removed the app to protect users from the game. iPhone owners who have already downloaded Flappy Bird can continue to play it as Nguyen cannot delete the app from phones where it is already installed.
Whole Foods Adopts Square for iPad Cash Registers [iOS Blog]
Whole Foods has partnered with Square to deploy its iPad checkout system inside the grocery store chain at counters selling ready-to-consume products like pizza, coffee and sandwiches, supplementing the chain’s traditional checkout lanes at the front of the store.
The company has signed a deal to put its iPad-based payment systems inside Whole Food Market grocers in the U.S., where they’ll be used at counters that sell ready-to-consume products — from pizza and sandwiches to coffee, beer and wine — as a supplement to the conventional checkouts at the front of the store. Customers will be able to pay with credit and debit cards, cash and, in some locations, by using the Square Wallet smartphone app. The idea is to expedite things both for people making a quick purchase from one of these venues and for those who are at the checkouts with a cartful of groceries.
It’s unclear if Whole Foods will use the Square Stand cash register or some other iPad solution, but TIME says some locations will support the Square Wallet app.
The deal makes Whole Foods the second major retailer to roll out Square’s technology. In 2012, Square and Starbucks formed a partnership that saw Square take over credit card processing at Starbucks stores in the U.S.
Geeksphone Revolution comes with Android and Firefox OS
Internet users around the world are familiar with the name of Mozilla Firefox, but they probably don’t know that Mozilla also introduced an OS for mobile known as Firefox OS. Just like Android, it’s based on Linux, and now a company known as Geeksphone introduced a smartphone, which is first of its kind. Geeksphone Revolution, a smartphone with dual-boot option, featuring Firefox OS and our favorite mobile OS i.e. Android. It will be available in Europe starting Feb. 20 for €289 ($304).
It’s not a cutting edge smartphone like the HTC One and Samsung S4, but Geeksphone promises that it will deliver. About the specs, it’s running a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel CPU, 1GB of RAM, 4.7-inch qHD display with a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels, 8MP camera with 1.3MP front-facing camera, 4GB of on-board storage with a microSD card slot expanding up to 32GB, and 2000 mAh battery.
So if it comes to US, will you grab one? Tell us about it in the comment box below.
The post Geeksphone Revolution comes with Android and Firefox OS appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Windows Phone 8.1 leak reveals new messaging and storage settings, and more
Up until now, the most we’d heard about the next rumored update to Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS centered on two features: Cortana, the company’s Siri-like digital assistant, and Action Center, its native notification center. Today, however, we have a clearer idea of where Windows Phone 8.1 could be headed thanks to a Reddit user who’s allegedly gained access to the new SDK as part of Microsoft’s developer preview program.
Windows Phone 8.1, which according to the provided SDK documentation has been relabeled WinPRT, also ushers in a critical change to SD card functionality that should please longtime critics of the platform. Namely, users can now install apps to SD card and not just sideload from it, thus freeing up internal storage. Bing apps are now apparently pre-baked into the OS, as are a trio of “sense” apps to monitor battery power, data and storage. SkyDrive, as previously reported, has been rebranded to OneDrive and there’s even a new Music app on deck (said to resemble Xbox Music) to replace the former Music+Video.
One of the more surprising changes Microsoft’s made to the Windows Phone platform focuses on how it handles SMS receipt and delivery. With WP 8.1, text messaging will no longer be restricted to the native SMS app. The messaging settings submenu includes the ability to specify which third-party app routes that communication by default.
Users expecting new live tile sizes will be disappointed since this update doesn’t include any options beyond the three already available in the OS. Although, there are apparently plenty of minute cosmetic overhauls packed into the 8.1 update. Among these are new default transitions for moving between apps and homescreens, a navigation bar with color settings to match backgrounds or accents, gestures to hide and reveal the onscreen navigation buttons, as well as the addition of Windows RT’s progress ring. Back button functionality now also falls in line with WinRT in that it simply sends applications into a ‘suspend’ state, as opposed to terminating them. To actually close apps out, users will have to enter into multitasking view and swipe down to end the process.
This long list certainly represents a heady mix of some overdue and even unexpected OS tweaks; tweaks that could help Microsoft catapult its struggling mobile OS to prominent market share. But it’s likely just a preview of what Microsoft has planned for WP 8.1, so don’t expect this to be the last we hear of the platform’s next iteration. We’ve still got a couple of months to go before Microsoft BUILD can reveal most, if not all of Windows Phone’s new direction, leaving ample time for like-minded devs to pull back the curtains even further.
Filed under: Cellphones, Software, Mobile, Microsoft
Via: The Verge
Make ‘business connections’ with Virgin America’s new in-flight social network ;)
Haven’t had much luck buying alluring strangers a drink on your last few Virgin America flights? What you need, my friend, is a service to expand your circle of potential prospects and make the in-flight connection you deserve. At least that’s what the airline must be thinking with its announcement of the “first-ever” in-flight social network, developed with Gogo Wifi and the Here on Biz geo-location app.
Once you’ve downloaded Here on Biz from the App Store (sorry, no Android types need apply) and connect through Gogo, the service lets you register via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to contact fellow travelers at the gate, on your plane and even on other Virgin America flights. But don’t think the social network is all about helping you get lucky at 35,000 feet (the sexy skies are the furthest thing from Richard Branson’s mind, after all); Virgin America says the service is targeted at business travelers who want to “take advantage of downtime in-flight to build or renew their professional connections.” It’s unclear, though, whether Virgin will claim rights to any startup ideas hatched on board.
Filed under: Transportation, Internet
Source: Virgin America, Here on Biz (iTunes)
Watch Valve’s vision of our virtual reality future (and other Steam Dev Days talks) right here
We did our best to break down and explain talks given by Valve’s virtual reality leaders at Steam Dev Days, but there’s no replacing the real deal. As such, we’d be silly not to share news that Valve’s published to YouTube all 28 talks given at its first ever developer’s conference — including the two virtual reality talks from Michael Abrash and Joe Ludwig, not to mention Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey’s talk. We’ve embedded all three of those below, but the whole shebang is available right here for your marathoning pleasure.
Filed under: Gaming, Wearables, HD
MightyText Android app goes Pro, adds extra features for monthly cost
Three years ago, MightyText started out as a clever app that, when paired with a Chrome extension, could sync your texts and incoming call alerts to your computer. Since then, it’s blossomed into a web app in which you can access your SMS/MMS, calls, contact list and photos/videos from any browser. Next up in the app’s progression: a Pro version. It’s technically been in a limited beta for the past few weeks, but the developers of MightyText have wiggled most of the bugs out and are ready to open Pro account access to any and all who are willing to pay a monthly or annual fee.
The Pro account, which is launching at an early bird price of $2.50 per month (or a flat annual rate of $30, if you know you’ll hang onto it for a while), comes with a rather large list of additional features. A Pro’s arsenal of software weaponry will include eternal message storage, number blocking, mass group messaging (up to 25 people), themes, the ability to sync older texts from your phone to the app, message templates, 50GB storage space for photo and video uploading and a scheduler. If Pro isn’t your thing, the free version will continue to be available — MightyText plans to always have one.
Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Mobile, Google
Source: MightyText (Play Store link), MightyText
Radiohead’s PolyFauna app will make you feel like a subterranean homesick alien
Radiohead has a new app for iOS and Android. It’s called PolyFauna, and here’s how Thom Yorke describes it:
Your screen is the window into an evolving world.
Move around to look around.
You can follow the red dot.
You can wear headphones.
Filed under: Misc, Portable Audio/Video, Internet, Mobile
Source: App Store, Google Play