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Aerospace - Aviation Articles

Military Stealth Tech What’s Coming – Looking Ahead

When the United States’ military stealth tech bomber was rumored and then when it made a public debut, it was the first-time advanced stealth technology was a reality instead of something out of a science fiction novel.

Even as the US was working on the tech to hide the profile of the bomber, work was underway on how to detect it. Since unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now an internal part of the world’s major militaries, stealth tech is integral to these aircraft. Again, the US is leading the pack, but China, France and Great Britain are also making major strides with China closing the gap rapidly.

Hide

 

Where concealment is concerned with military matters the top things that must be hidden are:

  • Sound
  • Heat
  • Movement
  • Visibility
  • Signals: radio, electrical or laser

Sound Off

 

Staying as quiet as possible is critical as next generation long-wave infrared search-and-track sensors worries some analysts about the engine and propeller noise.  Anyone who’s ever heard a small civilian drone knows the buzz. Helicopter pilots say they do not fly but beat the air into submission and create a lot of noise at the same time. Prop and jet-driven UAVs are sound machines.

The private sector is making strides in killing propellor noise. While the Rowe brothers creation, a shroud around the prop, is designed for drones in the movie industry, the sound-killing tech can easily translate across to UAV applications with a few tweaks. Another company has tweaked the propeller blade to get a noise reduction.

Silencing the jets on UAV may also take a page from the civilian world.   Georgia Tech and Lockheed Martin are tackling the jet noise issue on several fronts.  NASA is investing heavily into a new generation of supersonic passenger planes that promise “60 to 65 decibels per boom (at least as heard from the ground).” A normal conversation is 60-70 decibels at 3-5 feet.

Heating Things Up in Military Stealth Tech

 

 

Combustion is hot. Electrical motors cut way back on the heat produced, but batteries add weight which reduces flight time. One solution being explored by some is a combination UAV. It runs off a fueled engine until it closes in on a target, then switches to battery operation. This cuts the heat signature and the noise when noise-reduction measures are also included. Mission accomplished, it eases away and restarts the engine to either recharge the batteries for another run or the ride home.

Move It

 

It may appear that sacrificing stealth to move is a trade-off that must happen. Not precisely. A UAV must fly, but it the body of the UAV does not have to change shape. In a conventional aircraft, ailerons move. These dictate how a plane turns, climbs and descends by changing the shape of the wind foil (wing or rudder). The blades on a stealth helicopter are often a giveaway.

A new military stealth tech drone from BAE Systems in MAGMA in-flight trials has no moving external parts. As Popular Mechanics reports, ‘Control surfaces can also affect an airplane’s carefully shaped stealth profile, as the fin-like device moves upward or downward, momentarily making the aircraft slightly more visible to radar.”A slight advantage is all that’s needed to get a lock and take measures against the incoming craft.

See Me Now

 

Hiding by color is the oldest form of stealth around; think stripes on a tiger. Mirrors that reflect the surroundings are great for hiding, depending on the surroundings. But cloaking tech vis a vi Harry Potter invisibility cloak or a Klingon cloaking technology may not be as silly as it sounds. It is a step closer to reality. This kind of tech has the possibility of blocking everything but sound; muffling technology will take care of that.

Electrical and Radio

 

Hiding transmission signals is very difficult to do. Radio waves, even a tight beam, are going to spread. Using code, rapid frequency jumping and burst communications are ways around eavesdropping. Laser communication is the best we can do right now to avoid detection. Since lasers spread very little, intercepting means being in the direct line of transmission, which then becomes easy to detect because of signal degradation or transmission delays.

Seek

 

The arms race does not have a finish line. As soon as a new advancement comes online, someone is hard at work trying to defeat it.  The South China Morning Post says the military there has a “T-ray,” terahertz radiation, radar that penetrates anti-detection coatings on manned and UAVs. This is not new tech, but a modification of existing technology. T-rays are used in industrial applications to spot defects in layered metals.

As Defence Aviation says, the key to defeating the military stealth tech may be as simple as incorporating a whole suite of detection systems into one array. While a UAV may beat one, two or three of the detection methods, that means it must compromise on something else.

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed are already working in these areas of stealth technology thereby creating the need to develop even more sophisticated sensors that cue radars about the invisible blackbirds that roam our skies,” the website says.Retired USAF officers Maj. Gen. Mark Barrett and Col. Mace Carpenter sought to answer in a report, “Survivability in the Digital Age: The Imperative for Stealth,” produced by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “Over the long run, the U.S. will engage opponents who field increasing numbers of powerful digital multi-band radars,” the authors wrote.

To see what tomorrow can bring, look to science fiction. What was pure speculation 50 years ago is now held in your hand, so you can watch funny cat videos downloaded from a server on the other side of the planet. The race for better military stealth tech can be in two camps.

military-stealth-tech-300x171Cloaking technologies which are already underway and anti-gravity. Conspiracy theory websites are full of stories of government work on anti-gravy devices but have little in the way of concrete proof of the claims.

So is anti-gravity going to be a thing? No one knows. But it is being researched. Get past the “how could it work” to “what could it do” and the implications are stunning. We already know gravity can bend light so using the tech to thwart detection systems should be even simpler.

However, making anti-gravity happen is many years off, if ever.  Newer military stealth tech aircraft are on the horizon in the USAF B-21 and the Navy’s X-47B UAV.

Categories
Articles Wireless - Telecom

Future Cell Site Towers IoT Data, Broadband, Leasing

As demands on the Internet continue to grow, an in-depth look at the future cell site towers needs to be addressed, especially with IoT that sees homes become increasingly “smart” with the demand for transmission equipment continuing to grow. How will this growth happen? Where will transmission towers be located? What are the cost factors and are any innovations likely to come online soon? Are cell towers even going to be needed?

The base for everything on the Internet is power. Something must generate the electricity for transmission, whether through fiber optic lines or radio waves. How much power is not even a question as engineers know exactly how much it takes to send any signal any distance through any medium.

The power needs for individual devices, think smartphone, smart thermostat and such, is tiny. However, the power demands for several of these devices increase. Bump that number to the hundreds and thousands and power demands jump a lot. The future cell site towers is that they are going to need a LOT of power to handle that volume of data traffic.

Simply put, a pocket-sized battery will not deliver the volts and amperage needed to receive and transmit signals from more than 1,000 devices. “Cell towers will become obsolete only when Chevy Suburban’s and Ford F-150’s can drive down the Interstate at 70 MPH fully powered by solar panels made in the USA.  The demand for bandwidth is growing faster than the carriers can sell smart phones. Even if they came up with some amazing technology that could replace cell towers, it would easily take 10 years or more to implement.”   Some may point to signal boosters to handle the need for more and stronger transmissions.

More Power

 

Signal boosters require more power. That must come from somewhere. The demand on the already-stressed power grid will just get worse. Individually, the power draw may be minuscule. Added together, it becomes a real issue. A straw broke the camel’s back.   Battery advances over the past 30 years are huge, but battery output is still directly tied to the size of the battery. You can’t run a golf cart on a dozen D-cell flashlight batteries.

FCC Regulation

 

The Federal Communications Commission controls radio wave broadcasts including that done by wireless devices. It regulates signal boosters now. “Malfunctioning, poorly designed, or improperly installed signal boosters can interfere with wireless networks and result in dropped or blocked calls, including emergency and 911 calls,” says an FCC Consumer Guide to signal boosters.  As more and more devices go wireless, the chances for interference are going to grow.

Future Cell Site Towers in Aesthetic Landscapes

 

The demand for towers is not going away. Vertical Consultants tracks cell tower agreements and reports the industry is growing. “So again, if cell towers were about to become obsolete, why would the industry leaders be investing billions of dollars to acquire the rights to your cell tower?  The answer to this situation is that technology is nowhere near close to finding an economic and reliable replacement for the future cell site towers, and your individual site lease has value to the acquiring company!” .

future-of-cell-site-towers-in-the-city-300x200However, the look and location of these towers is changing. So, a better description for a cell tower is “transmission hub,” or hub for short. Increasingly municipalities are rejecting the look of giant antenna arrays.

The industry is responding. “Cell tower companies like Crown Castle are installing small cells for carriers’ use on light poles, on top of shopping centers and other places where they fit in with the urban scenery. In 2010, Crown Castle acquired New Path Networks, which built the nine-antenna medical center system. Where and what these smaller hubs are might surprise you. Twisted Sifter has a list of these different types of antenna hubs.

These hubs still require space, which means buying or leasing that space. A smaller footprint likely will translate into smaller lease payments, but more hubs also mean more leases. Savvy negotiators are going to win this one.

Future Cell Site Towers gets Creative

 

 

The demands on the wireless networks and high-speed broadband Internet are only going to grow. Consumers have already shown they are willing to pay for the service. Creative thinking will dominate the industry as it moves forward.  ISPs must step up their transmission capabilities. The tower manufacturers are already headed in the right direction with smaller hubs that are not eyesores. With the increase in transmission/reception sites, the demand for real estate to plant these hubs is also going to grow.

Future cell site towers are small hubs, more hubs and hidden hubs are the demands. Companies that make these hubs are in the driver’s seat. They determine the power needs and appearance. Location is going to be set by ISPs or cell companies and real estate owners.

Categories
Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Forward-Looking Interviews Work Best in Recruiting

The objective is to conduct forward-looking interviews  about what this person would do in short and long term coming on board.  Many recruiters lack depth in screening, interviews, assessments; rarely discover how a candidate will affect team dynamics.

This causes the Hiring Team to waste valuable time in an interview performing screening of candidates’ background and experience.  This tells you that the recruiter failed to do their job.     Which begs the question – exactly WHY and HOW is your recruiter earning a fee?

 

Why do Forward-Looking Interviews Work?

 

forward-looking-interviews-groupThe recruiter should provide detailed documentation about relevant experience, accomplishments, leadership/staffing abilities, budget/P&L performance, analysis of industry expertise; depth of industry relationships.

For Engineering and Product Management roles, the recruiter needs to document patents and intellectual property development.  In addition, address how they affected product or service R&D, delivery, market impact;  customer / vendor relationships, GTM strategies.

For sales and business development roles it’s all about how did the candidate grow existing or creating new markets, quota vs. actual, average sales volume / sales cycles.

For senior executives the recruiter needs to determine key accomplishments such as turnarounds and growth types; industry leadership by being a major speaker at industry trade shows / conferences and relationships w/ customers, vendors, analysts, and investors.

Doing these allow for the  Board or CXOs to conduct forward-looking interviews.

 

 

Forward-Looking Interviews Get the Best Candidates

 

If the recruiter began the search by identifying the short and long term objectives of the role. everything  else falls into place.   Combine that with scientifically based team profiling and determining a strong team fit.  It is important to know the leadership qualities, relational communications style, decision making traits, selling of ideas or products / services, and conflict resolution skills.  These types of interviews will reveal much more than rehashing what is on a resume.

For an in-depth look at how to utilize proper recruiting methods that will prepare your team to schedule time ONLY the best candidates in forward looking interviews,  please view of download the PDF titled Why Forward-Looking Interviews Work Best in Recruiting.

 

Categories
Articles Talent Acquisition - Assessments

Employee Recognition Program 3 Reasons Why it Works

A well designed employee recognition program results in higher levels of engagement have proven, repeatedly, higher levels of employee satisfaction, greater increase in productivity, greater company loyalty, higher profits, and better customer satisfaction.

Let’s look at the facts. In 2013, a poll conducted by Gallup found that 87 percent of workers surveyed in countries all over the world were disengaged with their jobs. Only the remaining 13 percent stated that they were satisfied with their jobs and felt deeply engaged with the companies they worked for.

One of the best ways to increase engagement is to make sure that employees feel appreciated and that hard work is suitably rewarded both financially and in some other ways. Having a strategic employee recognition program in place is one of the most effective ways to get results and take advantage of the following three key benefits:

Employee Recognition Program Improves Business

 

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that happy and motivated employees are better equipped to address customer concerns. Staff members need to feel that they have personal stake in selling the brand and its products and services, while also offering impeccable customer support. Around 40 percent of companies that have adopted a peer-to-peer employee recognition program claim to have increased customer satisfaction.

Many senior managers consider them an investment rather than an expense. People want to be rewarded for good work and they’ll be mentally far better equipped to face the monotony of modern corporate culture if they know there’s a good bonus and other rewards waiting for them.

Decreases Employee Turnover Rate

 

While money is obviously a primary motivator in almost any job, offering a pay raise isn’t the most effective method to hold on to employees. In fact, studies have shown that about half of employees leave within two years after accepting a raise, a statistic that clearly indicates that salaries and job satisfaction don’t always correlate.

Often as important is employee recognition, which has proven to lower turnover rate significantly. Employees who are widely recognized and rewarded for their work are about 30 percent less likely to leave the company.  Other benefits of an employee recognition program include increased happiness and productivity and reduced stress and frustration levels. A lower turnover rate also saves money, since a direct replacement cost up to half the previous employee’s annual salary.

Increase Engagement and Productivity

 

An employee recognition program is all about clear communication, transparency, and having a solid rewards-driven system in place. Such a strategy leads to greater employee engagement, since it makes members of staff feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

Employee-Recognition-Program-300x184

An employee who has a personal stake in the direction the company is heading will be genuinely concerned about the day-to-day operations of the business.

By contrast, someone who counts themselves in the 87 percent of people who claim to be disengaged with their jobs will be more likely to sleepwalk through each workday while looking forward to nothing more than the paycheck at the end of the month.

Additionally, the Gallup survey showed that two-thirds of employees considered praise from managerial staff to be the top motivator.

Final Words on Employee Recognition Program

 

There are many ways to implement an employee recognition strategy and most of them don’t require a huge investment. Some of the most popular methods include publishing the company’s greatest achievers in email newsletters, using staff meetings as an opportunity to include praise, or preparing regular status reports. However, a more original and engaging employee recognition program might include an achievement- or score-based system complete with rewards and prizes for top workers.

Categories
Articles Internet of Things

Industrial Robotics Cyber Security Challenges in IIoT

The line is blurring between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). As more industrial robotics equipment is connected to the industrial internet of things (IIoT), the vulnerabilities increase. Among the many devices being added to networks are robotic machines. That’s raising red flags for some experts. And it has many people worried. What are the risks associated with connecting an army of robots? It’s the stuff of science fiction.

 

Industrial Robotics Cyber Security Concerns on the Rise

 

The World Robotics Report 2016 gives us some insight into the scope of global automation growth: “The number of industrial robotics deployed worldwide will increase to around 2.6 million units by 2019.” It says that the strongest growth figures are for Central and Eastern Europe. The report cites China as the market for growth, and says that North America is on the path to success. “The USA is currently the fourth largest single market for industrial robots in the world,” according to the report.

TechCrunch contributor Matthew Rendall says “Industrial robotics will replace manufacturing jobs — and that’s a good thing”. He writes that the “productivity growth” behind 85% of job losses is all about machines replacing humans. Luddite and famous poet Lord Byron would not have been pleased. But Rendall is not bothered. He says that “more is getting done” by industrial robotics that are safer and more reliable than human beings.  And he believes that this robotics revolution will be beneficial to workers and society in the long run.

All this rush to automation might be the best thing since jelly doughnuts. But one question could make all the difference between abysmal failure and glorious success:  Can we keep them secure?

Challenge in Industrial Robotics Cyber Security

 

We probably don’t need to worry about robots taking over the world any time soon. (Let’s hope, anyway.) What concerns security experts is that our computer-based friends can be hacked. Wired Magazine reports how one group of researchers was able to sabotage an industrial robotics arm without even touching the code. That’s especially worrying when you think that most industrial robotics have a single arm and nothing else. These devices are made to make precise movements. Hackers can change all that.

Industrial-Robotics-Cyber-Security-300x225German designer Clemens Weisshaar addressed the issue in a form at Vienna Design Week in 2014.  “Taking robots online is as dangerous as anything you can put on the web,” he said. In a video from the forum, Weisshaar talked about how even his company’s robot demonstration in London had been hacked within 24 hours. They even tried to drive his robots into the ground.  “If everything is on the internet,” he said, “then everything is vulnerable to attack.”

Industrial robotics cyber security challenges are only one part of what many are calling Industry 4.0. It’s a trending concept — especially in Germany — and it’s another way of referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To understand what this is about, we should first reach back in the dim recesses of our minds to what we learned in history class in school.

The Industrial Revolution, as it was originally called, took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. It started in Great Britain and involved the harnessing of steam and tremendous advances in production methods – the 1st.  Next came the 2nd roughly from 1870 until World War I in the USA. This involved the use of electricity to develop mass production processes. Th 3rd brought us into the digital age. Part four is upon us now.

A video from Deloitte University Press introduces us to the Fourth Industrial Revolution — Industry 4.0. It gives a good summary of the four “revolutions”, and it talks about some of the new technologies that now define our age:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Machine Learning
  • Augmented Reality
  • Mobile and Edge Computing
  • 3D Printing
  • Big Data Processing

“These technologies,” says the narrator, “will enable the construction of new solutions to some of the oldest and toughest challenges manufacturers face in growing and operating their business.” They also make up the environment in which hackers flourish.

Industrial Robots Cyber Security Challenges for IoT

 

In this space we have already discussed the security vulnerabilities of IoT devices. We told you how white hat hackers proved that they could commandeer a Jeep Cherokee remotely by rewriting the firmware on an embedded chip. Imagine what hackers with more sinister motives might be planning for the millions of robotic devices taking over the manufacturing shop floor — supposing they are all connected.

Some researchers tackled the issue in a study called “Hacking Robots Before Skynet”. (You will remember from your science fiction watching that Skynet is the global network that linked robots and other computerized devices in the Terminator movie franchise.) The authors had a lot to say about the current state of cybersecurity in the industrial robotics industry.  We can borrow directly from the paper’s table of contents to list what they call “Cybersecurity Problems in Today’s Robots”:

  • Insecure communications
  • Authentication issues
  • Missing authorization
  • Weak cryptography
  • Privacy issues
  • Weak default configuration
  • Vulnerable Open Source Industrial Robotics cyber security Frameworks and Libraries

Each of these topics could probably merit a full article on its own. The researchers explained further: “We’re already experiencing some of the consequences of substantial cybersecurity problems with Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are impacting the Internet, companies and commerce, and individual consumers alike,  Cybersecurity problems for industrial robotics could have a much greater impact.”

What might that impact be? Well, to start with, robots have moving parts. They tell how a robot security guard knocked over a child at a shopping mall. A robot cannon killed nine soldiers and injured 14 in 2007. And robotic surgery has been linked to 144 deaths. It’s not Skynet yet, but connecting robots has its risks.

How we communicate with machines and how they communicate with each other are matters that require significant attention. Arlen Nipper of Cirrus Link Solutions talks about MQTT, which is a protocol for machine-to-machine (M2M) messaging. Manufacturing designers and operators send instructions to one-armed industrial robotics, who work in a variety of industries from automotive to aerospace to agriculture to packing and logistics. All this talking back-and-forth with industrial robotics cyber security has to be regulated. NIST’s Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security has a few references to robots. But maybe not enough.

Categories
Articles Artificial Intelligence

Ai in Nanotechnology for Biomedical Usage

Nanotechnology has been slowly treading into the field of biomedicine for almost a decade now. Owing to the fact that nanotechnology for biomedical usage is still a relatively newer technology surrounded by many ethical debates, its footsteps are a little slow and careful. So what is nanotechnology? As the name would suggest, it is the putting of nanotechnology to medicinal usage and that is where aI – aka artificial intelligence comes to light.

You can put about a thousand nano-particles side by side in the cross-section of a singular hair and disseminate them into the bloodstream to be in motion with the same fluidity as a red blood cell.  Many biomedical scientists and researchers have managed to apply nanotechnology productively. In 2016, a DNA nanorobot was created for targeted drug delivery in cancerous cells. The National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing, China recently created a bactericidal nanoparticle that carried an antibiotic and successfully suppressed a bacterial infection in mice.

However, the most remarkable innovation in this field was in 2017, when biomedical engineers designed and created small-scale locomotive robots mimicking the structure, mobility, and durability of red-blood cells. These nanobots developed by AI architects exhibit the ability to swim, climb, roll, walk, jump over and crawl in between the liquid or solid terrains inside the human body. Scientists expect that with the creation of these nanobots, they will be able to freely circulate around the body, diagnose malfunctions, deliver drugs to the disease, and report back by lighting up while performing their drug delivery.

As amazing as that may sound, many find it equally as invasive; hence the ethical debates surrounding nanomedicine.  However, taking a completely neutral stance, we will try to give the readers a brief overview of what Ai in nanotechnology for biomedical usage is all about, what strides it has made and where it stands currently.

​​​​

NanoTechnology for Biomedical Usage Methods

 

 

Owing to these characteristics, nano-particles have found their effective uses in the medicinal field. Some of these Ai in nanotechnology for biomedical usage methods include the following:

  1. Targeted drug delivery and consequentially minimal side-effects of treatments.
  2. Tissue regeneration and replacement, for example, implanting coatings, regenerating tissue scaffolds, repairing bones via structural implantation
  3. Implanting diagnostic and assessment devices, nano-imaging, nano-pores, artificial binding sites, quantum dots etc.
  4. Implanting aid like retina or cochlear implants
  5. Non-invasive surgical nano-bots

Ai-in-NanoTechnology-for-Biomedical-Usage-MethodsThis involves nano-particles that are constructed of immune-system-friendly materials, implanted with drugs and sent to the targeted areas of the body. Owing to their small size, they can effectively target only the areas that are disease-ridden; dysfunctional parts of the cells as opposed to the entire cells, or whole organs.

This essentially means minimal side-effects because it lowers healthy cell damage. This can be demonstrated by the example of NCNST creating nano-robots that carried a blood-coagulating enzyme called Thrombin.

These thrombin-carrying nano-particles were then sent to tumor cells, essentially cutting off tumor blood supply. Another example of drug delivery using nanoparticles is of CytImmune, a leading diagnostic company that used nanotechnology for precision-based delivery of chemotherapy drugs – it published the results of their first clinical trials, while the second one is underway. Many such methods of drug delivery are being used for cancer, heart diseases, mental diseases and even aging.

Regenerative Ai in NanoTechnology for Biomedical Usage

As per the National Institutes of Health, the procedure encompassing regenerative involves “creating live, practicable tissues to repair or replace tissues or organ functions lost because of a slew of reasons, which may be chronic disease, increasing age or congenital defects.”

Just as nano-bots mimic the structure of red blood cells, they can mimic the function of auto-immune cells and antibodies in order to aid the natural healing process. Because the natural cellular interaction takes place at a micro-scale level, nanotechnology can make its uses known in multiple different ways. Some of these include regeneration of bone, skin, teeth, eye-tissue, nerve cells and cartilages.  Ai is able to collect and direct and modify regenerations.

You can read about the Ai in nanotechnology for biomedical usage based cell repair by in the following article; The Ideal Gene Delivery Vector: Chromalloytes, Cell Repair Nanorobots for Chromosome Repair Therapy.  While such a powerful and innovative technology has its innumerable advantages in the medical field, it must be used within certain ethical perimeters for long-term applicability. Nano-technology brings with it many risks that need to be kept in mind by researchers.  If you need help to identify and recruit senior executives or functional leaders in artificial intelligence technology, consider the experienced team at NextGen Global Executive Search.

Categories
Articles Leadership - Ethics

Leadership Ethics Inspires Others Following Good Habits

Leadership ethics inspires others to follow you by looking at your decision making style and your listening habits.  In 25 plus years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great executives who leadership ethics inspires others to follow whose characteristics separate these individuals from the rest.

One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. Few have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in proper ethics.  NextGen  Global Executive Search specializes in identifying and recruiting senior executives and functional leaders have the highest ethics in leading others.

Leadership Ethics Inspires Others to Follow

 

In today’s turbulent world, the type of leadership ethics inspire others to follow are present at a number of executive managers who devote their time and energy to leading the process of value creation.  It is this part of an individual that inspires others to follow.  We see character as the summation of an individual’s principles, values, and core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life.  If character is the summation of our principles and values, then leadership ethics are the application of them.

leadership-ethics-inspires-otherBusiness Leadership Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root “ethike,” formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit.

Leadership consultant and author Linda Fisher Thornton in her book “7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership” (2013) stated that “ethical leaders have a tremendous impact on how people in their organizations behave and what they achieve,” Thornton said. “Effective leaders focus on what’s right and exemplify to their people that they are there to help, and not to exploit the vulnerabilities of others.”

Training for Leadership Ethics Inspires Others

 

Leadership ethics training in business emphasizes understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. In the business development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics, and their application.

One example is Lockheed Martin, where annual training starts at the very top of their organization.  Chairman, President and CEO, Marillyn Hewson, trains her staff who themselves then train their respective teams, and this pattern continues until all employees have participated in a training session facilitated by their manager.

Categories
Articles Internet of Things

IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

IoT medical devices transforming healthcare by changing every aspect of our social and professional lives as billions of pervasive devices enable the acquisition of timely and accurate information about our personal context, the data gathering transforms what doctors can do with actionable knowledge.

The healthcare sector provides an excellent example of the way in which the future billions of IoT devices will introduce disruptive transformation and new paradigms. In an era where population is aging and incidents of chronic diseases are proliferating, healthcare solution providers are increasingly looking into internet connected devices for remote monitoring of elderly and patients’ conditions.

This remote monitoring facilitates preemptive medical interventions, while at the same time increasing the patients’ independence, reducing hospitalization needs and alleviating pressures on the healthcare system. One of the most prominent classes of IoT Medical Devices transforming healthcare today is wearable devices, which are personalized and provide rich and real-time information about an individual’s healthcare related context, such as heart rates, activity patterns, blood pressure or adherence to medication schedules.

Wearable devices play an instrumental role in monitoring patients’ diseases and recovery state, as well as adherence to prescribed practices and medication. A large number of relevant wearable devices are already available in the market such as activity trackers, smartwatches (e.g., Apple or Garmin Watches), pedometers, sleep apnea detector and smart pills (e.g., AdhereTech’s smart wireless pill bottle).

Implant IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

 

A less widely known class of wearable IoT medical devices transforming healthcare are implant devices, i.e. devices that are placed inside or on the surface of the human body. The concept of such devices has been around for several years prior to the rise of the IoT paradigm, as prosthetics that were destined to replace missing body parts or even to provide support to organs and tissues.

Therefore, implants were typically made from skin, bone and other body tissues, or from materials (e.g., metal, plastic or ceramic materials). While the distinguishing line between conventional IoT medical devices and wearable / implant devices can sometimes be blurred, we consider as implant medical devices those attached to the skin or placed inside the human body, instead of devices simply worn by the patient.

Impressive examples of implant devices are: (i) Brain implant devices (i.e. electrodes along with a battery empowered devices) used to manipulate the brain and alleviate chronic pain, depression or even schizophrenia; (ii) Electronic chips implanted at the back of the retina in the eye, in order to help sight restoration.

With the advent of IoT medical devices transforming healthcare, implant devices can also become connected and deliver information to cloud computing infrastructures and other applications. In this way, they can become part of the IoT infrastructure and enable the transmission of medical data from the patient to the practitioner on a regular basis. Moreover, with IoT implants patients no longer need to visit their doctor in order download data from their device or even in order to configure the operation of the implant device.

For example, by enhancing devices such as the electronic chip for vision restoration (outlined above) with a small handheld wireless power supply, one can adjust the sensitivity, contrast and frequency as needed in order to yield optimal performance of the device for different environmental settings (e.g., lighting conditions).

Risks with IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

 

Despite their benefits, the adoption of implant IoT medical devices is still in its infancy. One of the main reasons is that the development and deployment of implants is associated with several challenges and risks.  In particular, implants are associated with surgical risks concerning their placement and removal processes. Although generally safe, these processes could lead to infections or even implant failures, which makes patients reluctant to adopt them. Moreover, several patients have reported allergies and reactions to the materials comprising the implant devices.

Beyond these adoption challenges, there are also IoT technological challenges associated with the need to understand and optimize the placement and operation of the device. For example, there is a need to optimize radio communications between the implanted device and the receiving devices where the information of the implant is destined. In this respect, low power operation is very important as a result of the need to economize on power capacity, while at the same time complying with applicable laws and regulations, including security and safety regulations.

IoT-Medical-Devices-Transforming-HealthcareFrom a technology viewpoint, implant solutions have to resolve trade-offs associated with efficiency and accuracy against antenna size, power use, operating bandwidth and materials costs. Moreover, implant devices should be appropriate for various body and skin morphologies, while at the same time offering security and data protection features that render them immune to malicious parties that may attempt to compromise their operation.

The above-listed factors render the design of cost-effective implants that adhere to regulations and optimize their operation very challenging. In order to alleviate these challenges, vendors and integrators of IoT implants resort to simulation. Simulation is an ideal tool for modelling the operation of the device and understanding its communication with the body and other devices of the surrounding environment such as gateways or even other implant devices.

Furthermore, vendors are implementing services that aim at increasing the operational efficiency of the devices, such as preventive or predictive maintenance of the device, as well as remote diagnostics and software upgrades (e.g., remote patching). The last batch of challenges concerns the important business issues with IoT medical devices transforming healthcare, especially implants, which are not confined to selling devices.

Rather, it is about innovating digitally and offering a whole range of services as part of the device’s industry ecosystem. Specifically, vendors and integrators of IoT implants need to find novel ways and business models for sharing their data with healthcare services providers and other stakeholders, while at the same time creating new value chains in collaboration with other device vendors, health professionals, home care services providers and other business actors.

The evolution of IoT medical devices transforming healthcare with implants will gradually signal a shift from the offering of an optimal IoT device to the offering of a pool of optimized and personalized healthcare services that will be built by the device’s industry ecosystem. Implant IoT medical devices are here and expected to play a significant role in the on-going IoT-driven transformation of the healthcare landscape. Stay tuned!.

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Articles Power Electronics

Distributed Power Generation Balance Evolving Utility Grids

Distributed power generation and other distributed energy resources (DERs) in the modern power grid is undeniable. It seems that electric distribution companies have two options: fight the inevitable rise of DERs or embrace them and benefit from new opportunities. After years of resistance, the time has come to enable the deployment of DERs by restructuring not only grid infrastructure and technology but also rethinking utility revenue models.

Don’t Resist, Restructure Distributed Power Generation

 

With the pace that DERs are being deployed it makes sense for utilities to embrace new technologies and their associated challenges, but there are still battles to be fought. It is unlikely that utilities will ever be comfortable with net metering policies that reimburse distributed generators at their billing rate.

Many states are changing their net metering policies to either add fixed fees to net metering customers or to reduce reimbursement to the wholesale distributed power generation rate, but that fight is far from won. It is obviously unsustainable and unacceptable for utilities to lose massive revenue streams to distributed generation and energy efficiency while also being responsible for maintaining an increasingly expensive system to support these DERs, but fighting net-metering and government subsidies doesn’t have to be the solution.

Although revenue is lost to power generators, there is also untapped potential from DERs that is not being exploited because of the way that utilities earn on capital investment. While utilities dismiss net metering as unfairly shifting costs, a similar argument of unfairness could be made for guaranteed return on capital investments.  Currently, utilities are incentivized to build distributed power generation infrastructure because they earn on those projects, but they are not incentivized to solve problems efficiently. Using grid-scale storage to offset an 18-million-dollar transmission investment is a nightmare for utility revenue despite being a simpler and cheaper solution. Perhaps it is time that utilities earn on the services they provide rather than the infrastructure they build.

Electricity as a Service

 

Electric power is bought and sold as a product. Customers pay for how much power they use. This model works very well until customers start making their own product. While utilities understand that they are providing the infrastructure that enables the customer to utilize their power, customers and legislatures rarely understand or care to see the difference. Since many of us already see grid infrastructure as a service that enables the consumption of power, it is only natural to formalize that notion and create new business models that align with selling a service.

Can control be localized based on utility specifications or should it be centralized? Will locational marginal pricing be calculated on a decentralized system and how will that impact the economics of DERs?  These are difficult questions, but utilities should play a critical role in answering them.

Adapting the Utility Workforce

 

Distributed-Power-Generation-and-Distribution-MextGen-Global-Executive-SearchNot many utility engineers have experience analyzing terabyte sized data sets and implementing drone-like distributed power generation control systems.

The skillsets of utility engineers and analysts need to adapt in order to keep up with these changes. How can we expect a utility to transform into a DSP without a workforce that can help build and maintain the platform?

With such a massive disconnect between traditional utility operations and the way a modern grid full of DERs must operate, it makes sense for utilities to invest in tech startups. While larger companies are investing in these startups, it makes sense for any size utilities to utilize their skills and platforms.

Regardless of how much the utility workforce may evolve, there will still be an increased dependence on these third-party tech companies to enable many of the advancements that will allow DER integration. We will still need a traditional workforce to design substations, size equipment, manage projects, and maintain GIS records. Partnerships with startups and tech companies can help close the gap between the keeping-the-lights-on workforce and the grid-of-the-future skill sets.

Take a company like Enbala Power Networks, which enables utilities to “aggregate, control, optimize, and dispatch distributed power generation energy in real time”. Partnering with companies like Enbala to perform demand response, peak load management, and a multitude of other services can allow utilities to maintain a focus on their traditional skills while still enabling a completely modernized grid.

Distributed Power Generation in Disruptive Technologies

 

Disruptive technologies such as DERs are often seen as the downfall of the industries that they disrupt. But unlike many other industries, the role of the utility in the power grid is so critical to society that it is unlikely utilities will ever go extinct. However, it is up to utilities themselves to decide how to respond to the changing grid.  Is it possible to resist new technologies and revenue models and instead continue to focus on capital investments and regulated business?

Would it be better help enable these new technologies and reap the benefits provided by a paradigm shift in the industry?  Certainly, utilities will mitigate risk by combining these two strategies. Duke Energy, for example, continues focusing on its regulated business while ramping up investments in renewables and new tech. It is transitions like these that will allow utilities not just to survive, but to thrive in the modern distributed power generation industry.

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Articles Wireless - Telecom

Network Function Virtualization What NFV will do for Operators?

Network function virtualization, as Dylan would say, the times they are a changin’.  Network Function Virtualization has come to the mobile operator, and according to strategic business advisor Northstream. It will be part of a “natural evolution of existing infrastructures” bringing greater efficiency and lower costs. But the key will be the creation of new services. “NFV in 2017 will be driven by services such as VoLTE, Carrier Cloud, Wi-Fi calling, service chaining, resource sharing and network slicing.”

Network Function Virtualization, aka NFV, was introduced to the world through a white paper that was delivered at the 2012 SDN and OpenFlow World Congress. Authors from thirteen different telecom providers contributed to the work. The paper highlighted several benefits of NFV, including reduced equipment costs, lower power consumption, faster time to market, scalability of services, and vendor interoperability.

The traditional approach to networking involved the dispatch of personnel, either to the data center or to the customer premises, to install the physical devices and cabling required to make the network services function. This sometimes involved a number of “truck rolls” until the network appliance was fully operational. But an implementation that might have taken weeks or even months through the traditional method might only take a few minutes with Network Function Virtualization.

Common appliances that can be replaced by virtualized network functions (VNFs) in the NFV architecture include routers, firewalls, switches, load balancers, and media servers. Instead of physical installs, Network Function Virtualization software can be used to simply “spin out” new services as needed. As traffic volume increases, the system may automatically create VNFs to meet the demand.

When things slow down, the infrastructure will automatically be reduced. Malfunctioning virtual devices will be detected and traffic will be rerouted through a new VNF created just for that purpose.

Replacing infrastructure is fine, but the real potential is in the expanding service portfolio of the NFV architecture. “By enabling service chaining and resource sharing,” says Northstream, “NFV allows operators to deliver network services to customers and enterprises through software instead of dedicated hardware devices. This represents a major step towards meeting the new demands of industry verticals that are just around the corner.”

 

Network Function Virtualization is not without challenges

 

 

While the hardware part has become simpler – many implementations are using off-the-shelf blade servers – there are still plenty of obstacles to overcome. RCR Wireless News explores the key challenges facing ongoing SDN, NFV and cloud deployment models in an interview with Frank Yue, director of application delivery solutions at Radware.

Yue believes that the biggest issue telecom companies need to deal with is orchestration, the automatic deployment of resources in the cloud. Trying to bring things together is “still very targeted and piecemeal”. Providers seem to be in a rush to bring services to market. “Really to get orchestration and everything right,” says Yue, “you need to have all these tiny projects come together in one big cohesive unit, and I don’t think we’re there yet.”  Real time and automation are the key words, according to RCR Wireless editor Dan Meyer. For Frank Yue, the keys are agility and elasticity, terms associated with cloud computing.

Another major challenge is security. How do you maintain the privacy and integrity of your data across the cloud infrastructure? Industry standards have a bearing on security. Yue calls the situation a “big administrative mess”. Without proper standardization, particularly in multi-tenant environments, the potential for security breaches remains.

 

Network Function Virtualization Standards

 

 

One standards body, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), announced NVF Release 2 on September 27, 2016. The statement includes remarks from Telefonica’s Diego Lopez, the newly appointed Chairman of ETSI NFV ISG: “This represents another major step towards our objective of defining a comprehensive set of specifications that will facilitate the deployment of Network Function Virtualization throughout the telecommunication industry, with significant benefits being subsequently derived in many interrelated sectors.” Lopez says that the ETSI NFV Architectural Framework will form the basis for the security, reliability, and integration of NFV going forward.

Network-Function-Virtualization-300x200How quickly will NFV revolutionize the networks of the world? That remains to be seen. It’s being looked at as a potential framework for 5G mobile deployments. Will service chaining fueled by NFV resources make large-scale network installations a simple point-and-click operation?

How will Network Function Virtualization be used in the development of self-healing networks? What other innovations await us in the field of network virtualization? Get ready, because the virtualized future everyone dreamed about is well-nigh upon us.

 

Does your company plan to deploy NFV any time soon? What do you think about this new technology? How do you think it will affect telecom companies and their customers in the next few years? Please share your comments on Network Function Virtualization below.

 

Expanding NPV services for MNOs

 

Tier 1 and Tier 2 mobile network operators are expanding their 4G services as it is at least 5+ years before 5G networks are ready for early deployment.  ARPU, expanding data services, lowering power consumption – these are all needed to be competitive and maintain a healthy profit ratio.  If you require an expertise recruitment team to fill a key sales or engineering role or perhaps product management or a strategic leader, you can rely upon Nextgen Executive Search to not only meet, but exceed your expectations in delivering a candidate shortlist that is ideal for new hires.  Click the image below for more information on our mobile network, digital media, telecom services, and wireless connectivity recruitment and to contact us directly.