Monthly Archives: May 2011
I had the excellent opportunity last week to mingle and meet with a number of our nation’s largest energy utilities at their annual EEI conference in Seattle. In addition to drinking great Washington wines, and enjoying the seasonal Copper River salmon that had just come in, I learned a great deal about the challenges of taking our energy system into the future. Implementation of “smart grid” technology, the pressures to upgrade and expand energy delivery infrastructure, and the looming issue involved with a nation full of “plugged-in” electric cars mean that the industry is facing a variety of expenses and pressures.
So while I was learning, I was also teaching. Valicom was were there to discuss ways to REDUCE their expenses, while streamlining and increasing visibility and control over one critical business area – their telecommunications. Energy delivery is a critical component of our nation’s infrastructure, and the more we can do to keep it online, the better. With strong cost control solutions like telecom invoice auditing, telecom invoice processing & payment, telecom inventory management and telecom contract negotiation, we can offer our support. Saving 10-30% of their telecom budget means those dollars can be allocated for something else, like expansion of service, or better IT protection of smart grid technology. To find out more, I’d recommend checking out our upcoming webinar “Plugging the Leak: How Strong Tactics and Software Tools Contain Telecom & Wireless Costs”
We look forward to building partnerships with new utilities and energy-related companies, and also look forward to next year’s conference. We’ll see you in Palm Springs!
The so-called PaperPhone is a only a prototype right now, but its creator, Roel Vertegaal, believes the device, and flexible display technologies in general, will become commonplace in the future.
“There have been only three display revolutions,” Vertegaal told PCMag. “The first was CRT, the second was LCD, and the third is flexible displays. When I first got wind of them, I realized they were going to change everything.”
The phone’s display is based on E Ink, the same technology used in ereaders like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. E Ink displays can easily be made flexible, but usually those screens are built into rigid devices. The researchers at Queen’s Human Media Lab didn’t just settle for a bendable device, though—they took the concept a step further and crafted the PaperPhone so the act of bending is actually a form of input.
“What’s really cool about a book is that you can crack the spine and flip through pages,” says Vertegaal. “You can do something similar with this. With this screen, all you need is to press your thumb slightly downward and it’ll sense it. The Kindle is kind of notoriously hard to navigate beyond one page.”
At this point the PaperPhone needs an external connection to work. But one of the big advantages of E Ink over other types of displays is its power consumption—namely, that there is none, at least not until the screen refreshes. The PaperPhone’s 3.75 thin-film E Ink display is slightly larger than the iPhone’s (which has a 3.5-inch screen). It’s said to be able to do everything a typical smartphone today can do, such as storing ebooks, keeping a list of contacts, playing music, and, oh yeah, making calls. On top of all that, it bends to the shape of your pocket.
“There are some real benefits for having this has your smartphone,” says Vertegaal. “One of the issues with smartphones is that they don’t fit well in your pocket, when you drop them they break, they hold like bricks in your hand, they’re not very lightweight, and most importantly their screen real estate is limited. What’s cool about these screens is that you can unfold them.”
How practical a flexible device will actually be remains to be seen, however. Will consumers respond favorably to a bendable product, or will it be dismissed for just “feeling” cheap? There are concerns about overall durability, too, since such a device could easily be creased if folded too far.
“We haven’t actually tried that—creasing it,” says Vertegaal. “It’s a $7,000 prototype, so we’re pretty careful with it. If you were to put a crease in it, you would break it. But there are engineering solutions for that.”
Regardless, Vertegaal is hugely optimistic about the device’s potential, envisioning a world where most devices adopt some aspect of the technology.
“PaperPhone is only a first instantiation of this bigger picture, and there’s going to be lots more,” he says. “Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years.”
The PaperPhone makes its public debut on May 10 at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Vancouver. Also on display will be the research team’s thin-film wristband computer, the Snaplet.
If you’ve been following along on our posts about TEM Software and task management, you can get it all in one place by downloading our latest white paper….
As telecom grows in complexity, managing wireless and telecom costs becomes ever more difficult, while still being a critical way to control business expenses. New web-based software tools have entered the market that make managing telecom expenses easier, faster and more cost-effective.
To help illustrate how telecom expense management software can be a powerful tool in your telecom and IT management process, we’ve written a new white paper “7 Ways SaaS Can Streamline Wireless & Telecom Management“.
For a preview……..
The Right Tool for The Job
As with all things, work gets easier if you have the right tools. Hanging up a picture is a snap with a hammer and a nail, but if you have a paperclip and a banana, it’s gonna be a long night. So why work with poorly designed or non-existent tools when managing your telecom? With the rollout of subscription-based, web-delivered telecom expense management software that allow you to enter, track, manage and report on your costs, there isn’t an excuse anymore.
In other words, put down the banana, and let’s get serious.
Read more - download your copy of “7 Ways SaaS Can Streamline Wireless & Telecom Management“.
Last but not least in our posts on telecom expense management tasks made easier with TEM software., we’re going to cover reporting. Granted, this is not an exhaustive list of tasks, by any means, but it’s a good start. You can go back and see what we had to say about inventory management, cost allocation, telecom contracts, telecom invoice management, order & change management and issue tracking. And now for your reading pleasure….
Last but not least, any telecom expense management software should offer lots of reporting. As they say, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”. And the beauty of all this data being integrated in one system is that it allows you to look at it from many different angles. Look at inventory cross-referenced by user, cost center or account. See trending data by cost center, location, or inventory type. Request information about various timeframes. Our particular software comes standard with almost thirty reports. We can even design very specific custom reports, based on parameters you provide.
And note that different users can have access to different reports. There is also a Dashboard feature that allows each user to select the information most useful to them, and have it accessible in a variety of visual formats. By clicking the image, it allows a deep dive into the report behind the graph. Often clients that have outsourced most of the actual day-to-day telecom management tasks to a vendor partner like Valicom still utilize reports and dashboards to keep tabs on operations.
And a dashboard is a lot tidier way to see your information than a spreadsheet, as these images illustrate. If you’re still using a spreadsheet, try out our telecom expense management software for a glimpse of the new millenium.
Now that you’ve seen the seven ways to streamline your telecom management, it’s time to take the next step and actually get a look at the software. Request a demo of Clearview, our telecom expense management platform. Whether you are hoping to manage most of the telecom tasks in-house, or want to explore outsourcing options, Clearview is the engine that gets it done. Let us show you how.
We’re almost to the end of our posts on telecom expense management tasks made easier with TEM software. You can go back and see what we had to say about inventory management, cost allocation, telecom contracts, telecom invoice management and order & change management. That last one ties directly into the task of:
After discussing how telecom expense management software can assist with order & change management, we need to talk about issue tracking. Granted, we’re sure YOU never have problems with your telecom vendors/inventory/lines/devices/users/credits etc, but you know, some people do. And it’s a pain to manage.
So to help you remember to check your next invoice to verify the change/problem/issue you recorded was actually implemented by your vendor, the software offers an “Issues” area. This is one of the few times in the workplace that is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, to talk to yourself. At least without triggering someone in HR to send you for a psych evaluation. Leave notes, record conversations with vendors, add details about why or how something was changed, and tag the issue with an Open and a Close date. This works even better when you have multiple users accessing the system. With a tidy breadcrumb trail to follow, any other user should be able to determine what happened, when it happened, and who did it. The Issues area also gives you visibility into what you need to watch for on upcoming invoices, again streamlining the auditing process.
We’re in the home stretch! Next post we talk about Reporting – the end all and be all of a good TEM software. Stay tuned…..