PaperFree partner M-Files recently announced a breakthrough in enterprise content management - the ability to access ALL enterprise documents within a company's Office 365 installation. This is made possible with several new M-Files advancements that allow it to integrate with SharePoint Online, Outlook, and Teams seamlessly. This new integration makes data access even easier for M-Files users - now all critical information is easy to find, no matter where it resides. And, now that data is available in commonly-used applications, users enjoy even faster lookup and increased productivity. These new integrations also come at a time where M-Files is expanding functionality dramatically with the recent M-Files for Salesforce connection.
M-Files is a notable ECM solution because of its unique intelligent metadata process that uses artificial intelligence to seamlessly connect documents and content. Information is found by what it is, not by where it is. This means that all information relating to a document, customer file, or project is immediately available and connected, no matter the need for accessing the data. And, data is safe with configurable access.
M-Files is an ideal solution for many enterprises looking for more advanced management of their data. PaperFree is happy to evaluate your ECM needs and show you how we can revolutionize your processes, workflows, and data management with M-Files.
This article was based on a July 1, 2019 M-Files press release.
Google recently announced the availability of its 'Code with Google' utility - a new tool for teaching school-age children the basics of computer coding. It works with a combination of Google's own curriculum and other resources, and is free. The resource was created to make coding learning tools available in a educational environment where tech skills are stressed, but rarely taught. It is often the more affluent school districts that have the resources to create coding courses - and the talent in less well off districts is left behind. Google hopes to bridge this gap, especially with the availability of affordable Chromebooks for schools.
By making resources free and hardware affordable, Google hopes to inspire the next generation of tech developers to build and pursue their talents. And, with their suite of cloud-based tools it's becoming easier than ever to access knowledge and learning.
To celebrate the program, Google also gifted a million dollar grant to the Computer Science Teachers Association. The program also offers the potential of scholarships, internships, and other work learning opportunities to participants.
This article was based on a July 8, 2019 Tech Crunch article by Darrell Etherington.
PaperFree partner Microsoft recently shared news of how its Azure cloud product is being used to share and analyze data that researchers have collected in an effort to solve the mysteries of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood cancers.
Microsoft's first partnership, with Seattle Children's Research Institute, aims to draw understanding about the causes of SIDS and hopefully methods to prevent it. This cause is close to the Microsoft family - chief data analytics officer John Kahan lost his son to it. The team at Microsoft started their task with public data about 26 million births and deaths, and then studied nearly 100 parameters about every child born in the US over a six year span. With the help of the Azure platform, the team were able to make several important connections between datasets and increased chances of SIDS occurring. Then, the data was handed over to the Seattle Children's Research Institute for expert analysis.
This team effort has since resulted in an impressive collaborative genomics database between Seattle Children's and Microsoft data scientists. This database is also shared with top SIDS researchers around the world. The result of this partnership has been a peer-reviewed paper published in the medical journal Pediatrics - in which researchers were able to make a connection between SIDS and maternal smoking during pregnancy. Azure advanced modeling techniques were used to draw this conclusion, and the researchers hope to use sequenced whole genomes as additional data in their Azure platform. Ultimately, Azure may be a key tool in finally understanding the mystery of SIDS and how to prevent it.
Azure is also in use for pediatric cancer research. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital recently developed the St. Jude Cloud with the help of Microsoft and DNAnexus. This platform works to make genomics data sharing and collaboration much easier between researchers. By developing the platform to analyze data against the human genome template, connections can be more easily made. Now, 450 institutions across 16 countries have instant access to critical research data to help them solve childhood cancer.
Microsoft's developments are in nearly every medical office and research institution, offering them a unique opportunity to create effective cloud and AI-based solutions for healthcare needs and research.
This article was based on a May 21, 2019 Microsoft blog post by Peter Lee
Riviera Beach, a city of 6 million on Florida's eastern coast, recently found itself in the grip of hackers who brought down its 911 and email system. Their attack started with a simple email to the police department in May, whose attachment contained a virus that quickly infected computers on the network. However, what the city did next is what's newsworthy - they paid the $600,000 ransom to the hackers to get their system back. At this time, it's unknown if the hackers held up their end of the deal. The city is also in the process of replacing computers and working with security experts to recover from the attack. It is reported that the attack on Riviera Beach is part of a larger operation to target US cities, which has cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
This case highlights how ill-prepared municipalities are to defend themselves against cyberattacks. Many have been slow to respond to the urging of government agencies to lock down their systems; barriers such as budgets, manpower, or poor city council support make it difficult to put any protections in place. But, with more and more cities losing data and systems to cyberattacks, something needs to be done.
Small cities and other government entities (such as hospitals) are a promising target to hackers - they lack the resources to fend off attackers, but may find it more economical to simply pay a ransom than hire security experts. This is what hackers are banking on, and they attack city after city until they get something to stick. There is additional concern that these attacks may be a part of something larger that is looking for holes in our safety net. Such vulnerabilities could lead to something larger, such as a large scale attack on power grids that could cripple multiple cities and emergency services in one go. Experts hope that it doesn't take a catastrophe to get cities to take notice and urge them to upgrade their security measures now.
This article was based on a June 20, 2019 Business Insider article by Sinead Baker.
PaperFree partner M-Files recently announced an exciting new addition to their lineup - M-Files for Salesforce. This product efficiently integrates M-Files functionality into the popular Salesforce interface, adding document management abilities as well as enhanced compliance and oversight. This added capability improves productivity because Salesforce users no longer have to go search a separate repository for information relating to a customer account - their focus can remain on accounts, opportunities, and deals in progress. Documents related to a customer account or project in process are simply listed alongside other Salesforce information. Among a multitude of features the new product offers:
M-Files for Salesforce also skips the hassle of importing data by integrating with popular content storage utilities such as Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more. This integration means that the linked documents in Salesforce are always up to date and available. Like the M-Files content management product, M-Files for Salesforce uses AI to extract information and classify documents intelligently so users don't have to spend their time classifying and organizing documents in a repository. This saves time in filing and retrieving information, which returns increased productivity among workers.
This article was based on a June 11, 2019 M-Files press release
More and more retailers are turning towards a cashless model by accepting cards and other electronic payments...and nothing else. This is done to speed convenience - surely tapping your phone on a reader to get your morning bagel sandwich is faster than digging a $5 bill out of your wallet, getting change, and oh, make sure to leave a buck in the tip jar. Some retailers also claim that cashless business is safer and more economical because there's nothing to steal, no armored truck deliveries, no taking an employee off the line to check cash in under dual custody, and no bank runs for change (a day's worth is quite heavy...). However, some are starting to raise alarm that the very currency that has existed longer than just about every tech we rely on daily is no longer good enough to buy your morning smoothie.
The Philadelphia City Council recently discussed this issue, in the context that not everyone chooses to...or can...pay for things by card or other electronic means. Ultimately they passed a local ordinance that requires businesses to accept cash.
There are many Americans (approximately 8.4 million) who don't have access to banking services and they often hail from lower incomes. For these people, credit factors can be a barrier to opening an account, as are minimum balance requirements and even physically getting to the bank. The homeless don't have addresses or enough available identification to bank. Many simply live solely on cashed checks. The concern here is that as more and more stores become cashless, those who pay in cash will have less access to the goods and services they are happy to pay for. There is also concern that retailers would be further divided into where the rich shop, and where the poor shop.
And then there's kids, who across the board rarely have access to a debit card to pay for a soda. There's also many people who choose to live off the grid and purposefully don't have bank accounts or credit cards. Fortunately, more governments are becoming aware of the issue and are addressing it through local ordinances. Several states and municipalities have started requiring that cash be accepted at businesses.
Though there's dissent to the idea of governments saying what private businesses can and can't do, there has fortunately emerged a middle ground that addresses this - gift cards. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta has converted to a cashless concessions model, and supplemented cash payers by installing Visa debit card kiosks through the stadium. There, spectators turn their cash into card payments that could still be used outside of the stadium. Though its usage is low, the kiosks account for kids, foreign visitors, and more with little downside. Such installations could be a compromise to allow all access to cashless stores while respecting the independence of businesses to do business as they like.
This article was based on a May 28, 2019 CNet article by Erin Carson
Carnival Cruise Lines recently introduced its Ocean Medallion wearable tech, which adds convenience, information, and fun to cruises. Though it is small (only about the size of a quarter), it connects passengers to shipwide systems. For the best results passengers should pair the device with a smartphone app, though the tech will work without it. This connectivity enables passengers to access their cabins, locate members of their party, check their onboard schedule on ship screens, as well as order a poolside beverage without having to get up. Thanks to NFC and Bluetooth technology, passengers are easy for waitstaff to locate based on location data. This cuts down lines at bars and since everything is paired to the passenger, payments are easy too.
With the app, passengers can also participate in interactive activities on the ship such as trivia and enjoy prizes awarded quickly and in a variety of forms.
The location services have some additional perks too - because ship staff can see where passengers are at all times, cleaning staff can tend to your room while they know you're away, without the worry of interrupting an afternoon nap. Plus, muster drills are easier knowing that everyone is accounted for. Security for the tech is handled by way of connecting a passenger photo to the medallion, which serves as two factor authentication and also ID on the ship. This speeds up disembarking and reboarding at ports, and overall streamlines all points of interaction on board.
So far, only three ships in the Carnival fleet have the tech and two more are slated for its implementation by the end of the year. Plans are in place to have all 117 ships outfitted with the tech in the near future.
This article was based on a May 23, 2019 Venture Beat article by Dean Takahasi
Take a look at just about any new car these days and it'll be filled with tech - lane departure warning systems, cameras everywhere, and even self-driving cars. But new concern is developing about the infotainment systems now found in cars, their integration with owners' mobile phones, and what happens with the data generated.
In many cases, cars are in constant contact with the manufacturer's home base by way of telematics - always on wireless transmitters. In theory, this data consists of performance and maintenance data to help engineers know how their product is used and performs, but more and more evidence is showing that new vehicles are collecting much more. They know when we gain weight, where we work, the size of our families, our incomes, and so on. From a marketing standpoint, this data is gold. From a consumer standpoint, this is troubling. Throw a mobile phone into the mix via Bluetooth and now the car knows who we communicate with, what music we listen to, and more.
So who owns this data? Us, the creators of the information, or them, the collectors of that information? The answer is not clear, and at this time it appears that we sign away the rights to own this information before we drive off the lot.
The flip side to the concern about our data being shared with those we don't want to have it is what happens when we want the data but aren't allowed access to it? This is the case at the mechanic - more and more vehicle computers are being locked down so that repairs can only be performed at factory shops or by independent shops who've payed for a software license to access data from a single make of car. Today, mechanics can simply connect misbehaving cars to diagnostic tools to get a readout of error codes, which can direct their diagnostic workflow. That may not be the case in future years, making repairs more expensive and making business more difficult for smaller shops. This could make simple at-home repairs by shade tree mechanics just about impossible.
This circles back to the gray area of who owns in-car data...and ultimately that choice should be left to the owner of the vehicle. Many of the mobile apps we use as well as mobile operating systems offer some degree of data privacy customization...why can't our cars?
This article was based on a May 20, 2019 New York Times article by Bill Hanvey
PaperFree recently had the opportunity to sponsor the Single A Muckdogs little league team's end of season pizza party. The team, a part of the Vista American Little League, enjoyed the celebration and looks forward to next season!
PaperFree is again delighted to be able to support events in the surrounding communities.
Those of us who've had the opportunity to know the deaf or blind/visually impaired have had a small glimpse into an entirely new world where connectively tools must work differently. The deaf "hear" with their eyes and the blind "see" with their ears. As a consequence, mobile phones that rely on both audio and visual functions rarely serve their needs straight out of the box. To address this a variety of helpful mobile apps have entered the market and are revolutionizing communications for the deaf and blind.
Before mobile devices with accessiblity apps, the blind would often have to plan ahead for simple things like shopping lists, and often ask for help. Now, with apps like Microsoft Seeing AI, they can have text read aloud to them. This gives the blind independence as well as lessens the guilt over having to bother others for assistance. Plus, it gives them privacy to handle things like email. Many of these applications use AI to understand what the user is asking them to do.
Not only do these apps make life easier for the disabled, they also open up a market for hardware and software developers. More products are in the works to introduce apps that caption live audio as well as apps that use AI to help those with speech impediments communicate. Online delivery services like InstaCart, which has a mobile app, make shopping easier for those who have difficulty traveling, and there are even more apps that have made the world more accessible.
This article was based on a May 13, 2019 CNet article by Shelby Brown