Virgin Atlantic first airline to apply Google Glass to customer service

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It’s already been predicted that Smart Glasses will be a boon to technicians, engineers and healthcare workers, as well as useful interactive, hands-free devices for office staff. Another obvious application for wearable technology is in customer services. Virgin Atlantic is applying the technology to deliver the airline industry’s most high tech and personalised customer service yet. Working with air-transport specialist SITA, it’s the first airline to test how the technology can best be used to enhance customers’ travel experiences and improve efficiency. During a six week pilot scheme, concierge staff in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow airport will use wearable technology to greet customers by name and begin the check in process. The benefits to consumers and the business will be evaluated ahead of a potential wider roll-out in the future. More →

Guidance from GCHQ suggests that Windows XP is no longer secure

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Open lockWorking from home to avoid the tube strike or weather-related travel chaos? Well, the perils associated with working from home may be more complex than contending with poor time management, feelings of isolation and a propensity to gain weight and neglect personal hygiene. The UK’s Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) is advising that all public sector staff who are still using Windows XP at home should be denied access to networks. By extension we can conclude that it’s not safe for anybody to be running the old yet still commonplace operating system after Microsoft announced it was withdrawing support from  the 8th April despite the fact that over a third of all PCs worldwide still use Windows XP.

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Economic recovery may be constrained by lack of skills and office space

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Supply and demandThere are signs that the nascent recovery in the UK economy is already starting to put pressure on the availability of skilled employees and appropriate commercial property for the most rapidly growing sectors. While the Government has announced that the UK’s economy has been growing at its fastest rate since 2007, a new survey published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES ) has claimed that nearly a quarter of vacancies in the UK have gone unfilled because of a shortage of much-needed skills. At the same time, claims a new report from DTZ, demand for commercial property is strengthening with take-up growing across the country while the availability of Grade A office space is declining rapidly.

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BIM learning opportunities expand in new RICS and Salford University agreement

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BIM learning opportunities expand in new RICS and Salford University agreementA distance learning version of a Certificate in BIM Implementation and Management, available online to professionals across the world is being offered by the University of Salford’s School of the Built Environment.  The Certificate is designed to offer those working within the built environment the fundamental knowledge and understanding of BIM principles, terminologies, tools and techniques, including the technology, process and people needs for the successful adoption of BIM on construction projects. A range of new Continuous Professional Development programmes have been agreed with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which includes a one-day Introduction to BIM Implementation and Management and a five-day Certificate in BIM Implementation and Management. More →

The BYOD conundrum remains how to strike the right balance about control

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Sawing off branchWe predicted that the practice of Bring Your Own Device would remain an insoluble conundrum for many firms throughout the year and two recent pieces of conflicting advice on the subject make the point point for us. On the one hand, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK has issued fresh guidance to organisations about the possible perils of BYOD and the need to establish formal policies and procedures, including the ability for the firm to wipe ALL data from lost or stolen devices, determine applications and operating systems and decide on what happens to devices at the end of contracts. On the other hand a Gartner analyst has predicted that the dead hand of organisational control will mean around a fifth of BYOD policies will fail within the next two years, rendering the efforts at control completely counterproductive.

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The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year ahead

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The nine enduring workplace tensions to keep an eye on in the year aheadThere were a number of workplace issues that wouldn’t go away during 2013. And there’s no reason to believe we will resolve many of them during 2014 either. We can try to explain the recalcitrance of such things by referring to the enveloping fog that emanates from the commercial interests who promote problems to their customers so they can provide the solutions, but many are more deep-rooted. Technology and its constant radicalising effects is almost invariably the major driver of change, but it is only one thread in a complex web of social, professional, demographic, cultural and commercial changes. So here, in no particular order, are the issues we expect to spend the most time talking about on Insight over the next year. More →

Driving home for Christmas? Forget Chris Rea and try Sigur Ros

Driving home for Christmas? Forget Chris Rea and try Sigur Ros

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Six in ten commuters travel by car. This was the finding of a survey conducted by the RAC earlier this month. Inevitably a busier road leads to congestion, and therefore stress. It’s no shock to learn, according to a Sky News report, that almost half of British drivers claim to have been involved in some form, with road rage. In fact, Britain is the shamed ‘winner’ of the highest road rage (Daily Mail), a surprising truth for such a stereotypically polite-prone nation. Road rage is a worrying occurrence – both for stress levels – but also for road safety. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents attributed ‘aggressive driving’ to the deaths of 122 and the serious injury of almost 1,000 in 2011. It goes without saying, that lowering these high-stress experiences for drivers is a necessity.

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BA becomes first European airline to allow electronics use throughout flights

BA becomes first European airline to allow electronics use throughout flights

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Butterfly cocoonThose of us who feel bereft when we are forced to abandon our links to a world beyond our immediate surroundings and companions for even a few minutes will be delighted at the news that British Airways has become the first European airline to allow electronic devices to be switched on for the whole time passengers spend on their aircraft, including take-off and landing. However, it’s not all good news for Europe’s presenteeist army of solipsist tech addicts as they will still not be able to text, call or use wireless connections. But they will at least be able to use their phones, tablets, e-Readers or laptops offline rather than talk to somebody, read a book or newspaper or even take the slightest interest in what is happening right in front of their eyes.

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Companies need to work out what they want to emerge from the BYOD pile-up

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Blues Brothers Pile UpAnybody who tells you they understand what is happening with BYOD, doesn’t understand what is happening with BYOD. Even by the standards of workplace technology, trying to get a firm grasp on the current state of play when it comes to the practice of Bring Your Own Device is particularly challenging. Surveys, opinions, research and case study pile up each day, crashing and bouncing off each other like the culmination of the multiple car chases in the Blues Brothers and just as difficult to untangle. The latest batch of news and views highlights exactly how disparate and conflicting the available information is. But underlying it all appears to be a single discernible and consistent point; while organisations may be less focussed on BYOD’s perceived advantages and rather more worried about the consequence of not implementing the practice, they still don’t trust it.

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The creative talent in the UK’s regions (other than London) is quietly thriving

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We can now be very confident that the UK economy is on an enduring upward path. We can also be sure that the UK that emerges from five years of recession will be very different to the one that entered it. And on that score things look pretty promising too, because we have the skills and talent needed in some of the world’s most in-demand sectors such as digital media, banking, software development, telecoms and publishing. In fact a recent report from Deloitte says that London employs more people in these and similar knowledge-based sectors than any other country in the world. But while London has an inevitable tendency to grab these sorts of headlines, it’s also great to acknowledge that London doesn’t have a monopoly on this pool of talent, and may even be less attractive as a base for some firms.

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Battle lines being drawn as wearable tech raises privacy and security fears

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Google Glass banWe are starting to see the first shots fired in the coming war about wearable technology. The most talked about early salvos related to the very recent and highly publicised case of a diner in a Seattle cafe who was ejected when it was discovered he was wearing and using Google Glass despite being asked not to and reminded of the restaurant owner’s policy regarding wearable tech. The ensuing media storm broke on social media first as it does these days, with the Google Glass owner arguing – perhaps unreasonably – they were his glasses and he should be allowed to do what he wanted with them , while the cafe owner argued –perhaps reasonably – that his other customers don’t want to have a meal out while wondering if they are being filmed or recorded by a complete stranger with the ability to upload it all instantaneously.

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Benefits of social media for employers are not being realised says CIPD

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Benefits of social media for business relationships and employee engagementResearch launched today at the CIPD’s Social Media in HR conference reveals social media is still a long way off from infiltrating the workplace to the extent it is used in our social lives. Three in four (76%) use social media in their personal lives, but just one in four (26%) use it for work purposes. Given the news this week that the attorney general is to publish guidance on Twitter to help prevent social media users from committing contempt of court, employers could be forgiven in being wary of the risks of social media. This is a mistake, as according to the research, ‘Social technology, social business?’ almost half (47%) of employees who use social media for work on a daily basis already see real benefits for their organisations. More →

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