Annet Aris’s picture

By: Annet Aris

Even tedious jobs like cleaning out archives can sometimes lead to great insights. Sifting through my old files recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find a treasure trove of old memories and forgotten facts. Among these papers were notebooks from my engineering studies; I realized that I no longer remembered the math formulas I had so diligently noted. The everyday pressures of business have blurred these lines.

There are, however, some basic concepts that have stood the test of time. Most are simple intuitive relationships such as extrapolated trend lines, the normal distribution curve, and scale effects that taper as volume increases.

For most of us, these stick in our heads and have been useful in an analogue world where goods were scarce and the cost of transactions significant. As business becomes digital, however, other rules and relationships apply. If the old curves and concepts are rooted too deeply, we run the risk of making the wrong decisions based on our default ideas.

Larry Hardesty’s picture

By: Larry Hardesty

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that can transcribe words that the user verbalizes internally but does not actually speak aloud.

The system consists of a wearable device and an associated computing system. Electrodes in the device pick up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalizations—saying words “in your head”—but are undetectable to the human eye. The signals are fed to a machine-learning system that has been trained to correlate particular signals with particular words.

The device also includes a pair of bone-conduction headphones, which transmit vibrations through the bones of the face to the inner ear. Because they don’t obstruct the ear canal, the headphones enable the system to convey information to the user without interrupting conversation or otherwise interfering with the user’s auditory experience.

Jody Muelaner’s picture

By: Jody Muelaner

Whether we like it or not, manufacturing is becoming digitized and connected. Industry increasingly connects production machinery with internet of things (IoT) devices, gathers multiple real-time sensor information into large datasets, and harnesses machine learning to make data-driven decisions. The advantages of this Fourth Industrial Revolution are expected to generate huge increases in profits during the next few years. However, these developments are not without risk.

I’m not going to discuss the existential risk of drifting into dependence on a system so complex that only machine intelligence can make any sense of it. Cybersecurity presents much more immediate risks. Industry 4.0 brings the possibility of both terrorists and state actors gaining the ability to remotely shut down and sabotage critical infrastructure and military assets.

Rick Gould’s default image

By: Rick Gould

Well over half the world’s population does not have access to safe sanitation. For many people, this means the indignity and risks that come of having no toilets. The answer, it seems, lies in new sustainable treatment plants. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Gates Foundation have joined forces to show how clean toilets and standards can change people’s lives forever.

Matthew M. Lowe’s picture

By: Matthew M. Lowe

While most business sectors have welcomed the efficiencies and benefits that cloud technologies and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings bring, the life sciences industry has been slow to embrace external cloud networks. Merely a decade ago, in fact, an International Data Corp. survey showed that 75 percent of CIOs and IT executives in life sciences and healthcare fields surveyed said that security risks were their primary reason for opposing cloud technologies.

Cloud-averse attitudes are slow to change, and industry research shows that companies that manage health information continue to show major resistance to cloud technology.

David Dubois’s picture

By: David Dubois

Faced with a growing range of tech solutions in marketing, from AI to big data to blockchain, business-to-business (B2B) companies too often choose the status quo. Recent evidence suggests the divide between success and failure is not about how much companies spend, but how well they integrate technological solutions that create value.

In other words, a company’s digital investment does not necessarily translate into marketing return on investment (ROI). For that to happen the firm needs to build a digital marketing organization—data-driven marketing capabilities around the customer. 

Jon Speer’s picture

By: Jon Speer

The European Medical Device Regulation (MDR) is a new set of regulations that governs the production and distribution of medical devices in Europe, and compliance with the regulation is mandatory for medical device companies that want to sell their products in the European marketplace.

If your company was already compliant with the Medical Devices Directive (MDD), don't be fooled into complacency: The MDR represents brand-new regulations with significant changes.

For those seeking to better understand why the regulations have changed, and what some of the major changes are, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we hear from our users.

Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man’s picture

By: Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man

When I first learned quality improvement back in 1989 at Florida Power and Light, the consultants who trained us taught a very specific way to draw a Pareto chart. They’d been trained in Japan, the place where quality improvement first took root during the 1950s, so I took it for granted that the way they drew Pareto charts was the authentic and best way to do so.

A Pareto chart combines a bar graph with a cumulative line graph. Using the way we were taught to draw a Pareto chart (figure 1), the bars are touching, making it extremely easy to visually compare levels from one bar to the next. The bars span the entire available space along the x axis. The cumulative line graph springs from the bottom left corner of the first big bar, and each subsequent point is plotted from the corresponding top right corner of its bar.

James J. Kline’s picture

By: James J. Kline

The term “risk-based thinking” (RBT) is familiar to those in the quality profession. This familiarity comes in part from its inclusion in ISO 9001:2015, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) quality management system standard. Although numerous articles and several books have been written on how to implement ISO 9001:2015 in the private sector, little has been done with regards to the public sector.

This reflects two facts. First, the idea of systematically managing the risks governments face is relatively new. Second, where risks are being managed by government organizations, there is no consistent approach. Some are using ISO 9001:2015 and others are using ISO 31000. ISO 31000, revised in 2018, is an enterprise risk management standard.

This article looks at what public-sector organizations are thinking about, and doing, to manage risks.

Nicole Radziwill’s picture

By: Nicole Radziwill

As early as 2015, McKinsey’s “Digital America” report projected that adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing alone was expected to increase domestic GDP by more than $2 trillion by 2025. This estimate, developed from expectations surrounding productivity enhancements, waste reduction using methods from lean manufacturing, and new business models enabled by technologies like 3D printing and practices such as remanufacturing, is on track to not only be metbut exceeded.

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