C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts: Blog http://photos.brianorner.com/blog en-us (C) C. Brian Orner. All Rights Reserved. brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Sat, 19 Nov 2016 14:26:00 GMT Sat, 19 Nov 2016 14:26:00 GMT http://photos.brianorner.com/img/s/v-5/u458928275-o831621037-50.jpg C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts: Blog http://photos.brianorner.com/blog 120 80 Reza Sattari and Jila Kilantari http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2016/11/reza-sattari-and-jila-kilantari “We don’t sell rugs. We work to help our customers find what they’re looking for—no more and no less. If we do our job well, the rug will sell itself.” 

Reza Nejad Sattari reclines in his office chair and offers up a shock of silver hair and a winning smile that brightens the entire room. It’s a smile borne of genuine love for his work, and for the culture that informs it. That culture is everywhere on display at Oriental Rug Mart—on the floors, on the walls, in stacks and rolls—in the very air itself. 

Carpets are layered chest high in neat stacks that defy immediate understanding—there’s just too much to grasp; it’s impressive, mysterious—overwhelming. Jila Kalantari, co-owner and wife of Reza, nods in understanding. “We pride ourselves on the size and diversity of our inventory. But we don’t really have enough space.” Jila is a classic Persian beauty, with porcelain features and brilliant baby browns; at once penetrating and disarming. “This is the largest inventory in New York state, save one or two places in New York City. It can be a little overwhelming.”

The sheer size and diversity of the inventory at Oriental Rug Mart is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that customers are likely to find exactly what they want, regardless of size, style, or budget. The curse is that they are unlikely to find it on their own. At the young age of 70, Reza betrays the energy and physique of a much younger man. “We spend a good part of our day flipping through stacks for our customers. It’s one of the reasons why rug men live long, healthy lives.” He smiles. “That’s the theory, at any rate.” By way of illustration, he throws back a few 8x10s, and in the space of two minutes, one is graced with Turkish, Pakistani, Tibetan, Indian, Iranian, and Chinese carpets; floral designs, tribal designs, transitional and art carpets aplenty. It’s a feast for the eyes and the hands.

“The biggest challenge we face is to demystify the industry” says Reza. “People in this country are unfamiliar with oriental rug-making culture, and there is a great deal of misinformation.” Neither Reza nor Jila hail from rug-making dynasties, per se, but weaving culture is woven deeply into their respective family histories. As a young man, Reza was a chess prodigy in Isfahan, Iran, and his grandmother made him a finely-knotted carpet that he designed for use as a chessboard. It sits near his desk, and he shows it off whenever he can. Jila’s grandmother made small carpets for use in the home and as gifts—a commonplace practice in that part of the world. To some extent, the business is in their blood.

After thirty years in the rug business, Reza and Jila have seen pretty much everything—changes in styles, tastes, and in the business itself. “Unfortunately, our industry has developed a bad reputation. For a long time, rug dealers felt that they could be more successful with fire sale techniques—relying on impulse purchases, and obfuscating the nature of the product itself. We do precisely the opposite.”

It takes only a few minutes in the Victor showroom to begin to understand what he means. Even a casual stroll through the store is accompanied by a wealth of information—about origins, structure, weaving techniques—knots and dyes and designs and even fashion trends. “Rug making is an ancient art,” says Reza, “and it is difficult to grasp it all in detail. Different regions emphasize different motifs and weaving styles. A design might originate in one place, and then migrate elsewhere and change over time. Dyes can be natural or man-made. Wools can be of very different grades. And the cost of a rug might have no relationship to its actual quality.”

It is this last bit that causes Jila to shake her head. “It is easy to become confused about this, and even easier for rug merchants to take advantage of people. This is why our industry has a bad reputation. As responsible merchants, we view our job as correcting this state of affairs, and improving the reputation of the industry.”

Over the years, that approach has generated a fiercely loyal clientele. Most customers are repeat customers, and they will often bring in their rugs for regular cleaning and repair, even years after the initial sale. “We don’t just sell, we specialize in the care and feeding of oriental carpets,” says Reza. “Over time, most carpets will become dirty from ordinary use. Regular professional cleaning is important. That said, a well-made rug will last for generations, and even inexpensive machine made carpets will last for many years if they’re properly cared for.”

It’s clear that he means what he says; the entire rear area of the showroom is dedicated to cleaning and repair. Both are performed by hand, meticulously, and the techniques required vary from carpet to carpet. But the results are spectacular. Repair, in particular, is demanding, artful work. The repair specialists at Oriental Rug Mart hail from the Weaver’s Guild of Rochester, and offer a wealth of knowledge and experience with patching, reweaving, wools, dyes, and rug-making techniques. 

“Our customers know that they can rely on us over the long term,” says Jila. “We try to build lasting relationships beyond the initial sale. When we do, they always come back.”

They come back, and the carpets sell themselves.

_B.

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Interviews http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2016/11/reza-sattari-and-jila-kilantari Sat, 19 Nov 2016 14:25:20 GMT
ReverTech Electronics Repair http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-electronics-repair Electronics Repair
Maximum Speed at Minimum Cost
 
Sooner or later, like everything else, modern electronics will fail. But effective electronics repair means more than just outstanding engineering expertise. You need an organization that can scale to meet the service levels that you demands, and drill down to reliable board-level repairs. You need highly responsive, consistent results, regardless of the type, size, or volume of the electronics in question. And you need it all, fast.
 
Your Single Source Supplier
 
ReverTech Solutions provides Depot Repair services for clients large and small across the US. As a single-source supplier for both repairs and parts, we’ve perfected the art of warehousing and supply chain management for virtually every major consumer electronics manufacturer. The result is predictable, reliable, individually customizable repair services at the lowest possible flat-rate cost.
 
The Device is Not the Data
 
These days, security is paramount. We have no idea what these devices might contain, and we don’t want to know. Our extensive security procedures are designed to ensure that no one ever will. From arrival through repair and departure shipping, your data is safe from unauthorized access.
 
Just the Right Size
 
In this business, size matters. Our in-house technology can handle even the latest nanoscale electronics with ease, and we can scale our operations up or down to suit clients of any size—from single digit batches all the way up to thousands of units per month. ReverTech’s customer service is second to none, and our certified technicians provide repairs, returns, and responsiveness you can rely on. With repair facilities in Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA and Austin, TX, we’ll minimize freight charges and shorten turnaround times, no matter the destination.
 
The Results Don’t Speak For Themselves
 
They don’t have to. Our Net Promoter Score is among the highest in the industry, and word of mouth is our best asset. It’s all about faster repairs, lower failure rates, and utterly reliable repairs for ailing electronics of all types. Chances are, you didn’t hear it here first—and that’s a good thing.
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-electronics-repair Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:50:11 GMT
ReverTech Solutions for Education http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-solutions-for-education Solutions For Education
Kids Can Be Tough on Technology
 
Today’s K-12, Private and Higher Educational institutions are increasingly reliant on technology to support student development, but students can be tough on technology. ReverTech offers repair services that are optimized for the special needs of the educational market. We’ll help you simplify your operations, minimize your risk, and ease your financial outlay. Your students will be happy campers, and your administrators will, too.
 
We’ve Got You Covered
 
From power supplies to motherboards, from memory chips to projector lamps, ReverTech can supply any part and repair every device from every modern major electronics manufacturer. With over 300,000 parts in stock at any time, our costs fall well below OEM suppliers, and our turnaround time is unmatched in the industry. We also offer high-quality aftermarket parts for even greater savings.
 
Breadth and Depth in Break/Fix Services
 
Comprehensive service isn’t always about leading edge technology. ReverTech specializes in sourcing parts that OEMs don’t handle, including older, vintage, and hard-to-find components. Your school’s technology base will remain spared and reparable, regardless of age or size, and your dedicated representative will ensure that you get what you need, when you need it – even for large-scale tech refreshes. From individual units to batches of thousands, we can scale to meet any demand.
 
Making it Simple to Stay Ahead
 
You’re in the business of education, so we make the business of doing business easy. We offer low-cost, predictable flat-rate repairs on most items, and we gladly accept school purchase orders and purchasing cards. There are never any hidden charges, and you always retain the option to have a unit returned as is. We even offer extended service plans that will completely eliminate your risk, with options to cover all your devices for up to four years. Most important, we back all of our work with a hassle-free 180-day warranty – the finest in the industry.
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-solutions-for-education Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:32:35 GMT
ReverTech Parts Fulfillment http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-parts-fulfillment Parts Fulfillment
Shorten the Supply Chain
 
With over 300,000 electronics parts warehoused in three locations, ReverTech knows that the key to the aftermarket is a reliable supply chain. ReverTech provides customized warehousing and shipping for clients seeking a reliable single-source supplier for electronics components. We’ll help you minimize costs, maximize market velocity, and improve the strength of your supply chain.
 
Strengthening In-House Repairs
 
Many repairs can be handled in-house by technically savvy clients. ReverTech supports this model with new and legacy parts, delivered quickly, regardless of brand. We’re a reliable one-stop shop for rapid electronics parts supply.
 
Strengthen the Weakest Link
 
ReverTech can even provide backup repair services for occasional spikes in volume. From hand-held devices to industrial-strength computers, our certified technicians handle every major brand of electronics. With repair facilities in Boston, Philadelphia and Austin, freight charges are minimized and repair cycles are optimized. With deep ties into the electronics industry, we can even help you locate hard-to-find components that are no longer actively manufactured. You’ll enjoy customized solutions that are perfectly tailored to your needs, your volume, and your location
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-parts-fulfillment Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:30:17 GMT
ReverTech Remanufacturing http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-remanufacturing Remarketing
Out with the New, In with the Old
 
Modern electronic devices are durable. Absent consumer mishaps, today’s electronics can easily outlive the planned obsolescence of the product life cycle. But aging inventory need not collect dust, and broken devices need not just be scrapped. You have a range of options.
 
Transforming Scrap Into Scratch
 
ReverTech specializes in triaging, diagnosing, and harvesting aging electronics of all types. We’ll repair, refurbish and remarket salvageable inventory, harvest and recycle operational parts from failed devices, and help you transform your aging inventory into an aftermarket revenue stream.
 
Planning for Obsolescence
 
It’s a call to action, not a manufacturing philosophy. Even well-tuned warehousing has a certain amount of surplus. We’ll help you find new markets and sell your surplus to second-tier suppliers and customers. You’ll save shelf space and sell outdated inventory.
 
Smart Disposal for Intelligent Devices
 
Electronics waste can be environmentally toxic, and shouldn’t just head to the trash heap. ReverTech provides EPA-certified, environmentally-sensitive destruction and disposal of unsalvageable scrap. We handle the compliance, and you reap the benefits.
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-remanufacturing Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:28:48 GMT
ReverTech Remarketing http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-remarketing Remarketing
Out with the New, In with the Old
 
Modern electronic devices are durable. Absent consumer mishaps, today’s electronics can easily outlive the planned obsolescence of the product life cycle. But aging inventory need not collect dust, and broken devices need not just be scrapped. You have a range of options.
 
Transforming Scrap Into Scratch
 
ReverTech specializes in triaging, diagnosing, and harvesting aging electronics of all types. We’ll repair, refurbish and remarket salvageable inventory, harvest and recycle operational parts from failed devices, and help you transform your aging inventory into an aftermarket revenue stream.
 
Planning for Obsolescence
 
It’s a call to action, not a manufacturing philosophy. Even well-tuned warehousing has a certain amount of surplus. We’ll help you find new markets and sell your surplus to second-tier suppliers and customers. You’ll save shelf space and sell outdated inventory.
 
Smart Disposal for Intelligent Devices
 
Electronics waste can be environmentally toxic, and shouldn’t just head to the trash heap. ReverTech provides EPA-certified, environmentally-sensitive destruction and disposal of unsalvageable scrap. We handle the compliance, and you reap the benefits.
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-remarketing Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:27:36 GMT
ReverTech Returns Management http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-returns-management Returns Management

Turning Obsolescence Into Sustainability

It’s a fact of life in high technology: products get returned—sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes, well, not so much. In either case, effective aftermarket support is critical for retail health and sustainable customer satisfaction. 
 
ReverTech offers comprehensive, customized Returns Management solutions for electronics retailers, OEMs, and ODMs. We’ll triage the reparable from the scrap, diagnose and test candidate devices, and repair and refurbish the salvageable with expertise that extends to board-level components. Our diagnoses are accurate, our repairs are precise, and our cycle times lead the industry.
 
Flexible Value Extraction
 
High-tech returns management isn’t easy, but we are. We’ll work with you on a fee-for-service basis, or we’ll work out a revenue sharing arrangement. Everybody wins, from the original manufacturer to the local recycler.
 
Green Disposal Solutions
 
At ReverTech, obsolescence is no excuse for environmental irresponsibility. For devices that cannot be salvaged, ReverTech works with responsible, certified, licensed recyclers to provide environmentally-friendly recycling and disposal. You can be confident that even the scrap will be handed in a green-friendly manner. 
 
Responsible retailers and manufactures need comprehensive aftermarket solutions. With strategically located facilities in Boston, Philadelphia and Austin, ReverTech can customize solutions for clients with maximum salvageability and minimum freight. 
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-returns-management Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:26:30 GMT
ReverTech Solutions - Solutions Overview http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-solutions---solutions-overview The Old is New Again
ReverTech solves the aftermarket problems associated with limited-lifespan durable goods, including detailed repairs, extensive warehousing and parts fulfillment, and OEM-certified remanufacturing. We also help firms handle the revolving door, with comprehensive returns management, remarketing, and environmentally friendly disposal options. 
 
Electronics Repair
ReverTech provides high-quality, quick-turn repair services for all major brands of electronic devices. We source our own supply, and we have the capacity to repair even component-level failures from single digits to multiple thousands. We maintain over 100K parts in inventory, and that means fast, traceable turnaround at the lowest possible cost. 
 
Parts Fulfillment
In the electronics business, effective repairs mean effective supply chain management. ReverTech acts as a single-source supply to those electing to do in-house or in-field repairs. We handle warehousing and shipping on a highly customized basis that will minimize your costs and maximizes your market velocity.
 
Returns Management
ReverTech offers highly accurate diagnosis, triage, and repair services for those seeking to manage product returns. We’ll take care of the problem inventory so you can take care of your clients. Our services are rapid, responsive, and easy on your bottom line.
 
Remanufacturing
Savvy manufacturers use ReverTech OEM-certified remanufacturing to extend the useful life of legacy electronics gear. We support the latest technologies with the capacity to rapidly repair and restore earlier-generation devices to virtually new condition.
 
Remarketing
ReverTech will turn surplus into a revenue stream. We will strategically repair, restore, or repackage devices and then give it new life as an aftermarket revenue stream. It’s a great way to convert aged or defective devices into dollars. 
 
Counting the Beans
We’re remarkably easy to do business with. As a ReverTech client, you’ll enjoy a broad array of customized solutions to suit your financial and business needs. 
 
 
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/revertech-solutions---solutions-overview Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:20:38 GMT
EXCEL Management Systems: Network Assessment http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/excel-management-systems-network-assessment What is a Network Assessment?
 
If your organization is like most, you’ve accumulated a wide variety of devices and technology to assist you in servicing clients and running your business. Computers, software, wired and wireless networks, mobile devices, cell phones—these are each commonplace in today’s workplace environment, and it is now typical to see a mixture of personal and corporate devices on the same network.
 
Because technology advances so rapidly, however, it can be challenging to track the proliferation of these devices adequately. It can be difficult to keep critical infrastructure secure. It can be time-consuming to keep workplace software up to date and virus-free, and to develop disaster recovery procedures for seemingly unlikely events. Many organizations have no formal standards in place for asset tracking and device management, nor the information technology staff to do so.
 
The first step in solving any problem is to identify the problem. EXCEL’s Network Assessment is designed to do precisely that. Our free, no-obligation Network Assessment is a non-invasive, low-impact technical analysis of your networks, network-attached devices, and the software that they use. No software need be pre-installed on your network, and none is left in the wake of the analysis. About thirty minutes on-site is required for our assessment tools to complete their work. After that, we’ll disappear for a few days to prepare detailed reports about the current state of your information technology environment, along with a risk assessment for each major area of discovery.
 
We can virtually guarantee that you will discover things about your hardware and software environment that you did not previously know, such as mission-critical software on an older machine that is approaching end of life, or personnel with secure access to your network that have left the organization, or cell phones under contract that no one is using. We’ll identify security threats to your organization that arise from administrative policies that may be out of date, or backup software that stopped functioning during the Bush Administration.
 
Then we’ll offer recommendations about how to address what we’ve found, along with suggested next steps. In many cases, fixing typical problems can actually save your organization money. In other cases, you may be faced with the option of making a modest investment in the short term in order to eliminate an enormous investment in the long term. You may choose to act on the findings, and you may choose not to, but at least you’ll understand the scope of the problem, if any problem exists, in greater detail.
 
EXCEL offers this service free of charge, with no obligation of any kind. We know that issues are likely to arise in the Network Assessment process, and helping you to identify them is a service we are happy to provide. Unexpected disasters benefit no one, and cost organizations and communities a disproportionate amount of unnecessary expense and heartache. It is our hope that if issues arise that require remediation, you’ll choose EXCEL to assist you in correcting the problem. If not, we’ve made contact, and that is a benefit in and of itself.
 
 
 
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Blog http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/excel-management-systems-network-assessment Sat, 15 Nov 2014 03:00:00 GMT
SCOMSDC Connections Magazine Article http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2014/8/scomsdc-connections-magazine-article ARTICLE FOR CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

South Central Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council

Embracing Technology

Let’s begin with a few interesting (and surprising) facts. Just ten years ago, the now ubiquitous iPhone did not exist. Just twenty years ago, simple cellular handsets were extremely rare and expensive. Thirty years ago, the World Wide Web hadn’t even been invented. And forty years ago, the graphical user interface was little more than a twinkle in the eye of Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs, who had just seen a prototype of the concept at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research center. Many of the readers of this article will remember the invention of the personal computer in the late 1970s, and—believe it or not—more than a few of us are older than the entire information age. It has all happened in a single generation. Today, digital technology dominates our modern way of life, but it was not always so, and we have been collectively dragged—sometimes kicking and screaming—into a new era dominated by rapid, accelerating technological change.

In 1989, just as personal computers and their attendant networks were reaching critical mass in the marketplace, EXCEL Management Systems was founded to help public sector organizations manage the growing onslaught of technological change. Curtis T. Jewell, the founder and CEO of EXCEL, began by helping the State of Ohio to transform and modernize its fledgling hardware infrastructure, and numerous Ohio state agencies remain clients to this day. EXCEL soon expanded its client list to include Federal agencies as well, including The US Air Force, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Department of Defense (DOD), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

In the intervening quarter of a century, the scale and scope of information technology has exploded, but the essential challenges remain. How can technology improve my organization? How can I use it to serve my people (and not the other way around)? How can I move faster, and smarter, and avoid mistakes? Why are there so many cat photos on Facebook? From the sublime to the ridiculous, technology, like society itself, is about improving the human condition, our quality of life, and, ultimately, the future of our species.

Embracing Diversity

Unfortunately, the most important central characteristic of modern technology is also it’s greatest potential weakness. That characteristic is diversity. Diverse technologies can reach farther and involve more people than ever before, regardless of race, creed, or socioeconomic status. Our society is diverse, our cultures are diverse, and our technological infrastructure must be able to accommodate it all. But that same diversity can also divide us—through incompatibilities, through obsolescence, and through gaps in knowledge transfer. The trick is to emphasize the former and eliminate the latter—to use technology, intelligence, and experience to align people, processes, and tools to a common purpose. This is the essential mission of EXCEL, and it is as vital and important today as it was at the beginning of the information age.

Embracing Partnership

The rapid of expansion of diverse technologies has given rise to a fourth essential component for organizational success. That component is partnership. In today’s economy, traditional vendor/client relationships no longer work as well as they once did. No vendor, regardless of size, can possibly house all of the expertise needed to manage the tremendous technical diversity of today’s information technology. Extreme technological diversity has given rise to the need for extreme specialization, and robust partnerships ensure that specific problems get specific solutions that work well and last. EXCEL has built its business around the partnership model; we work with partners in order to work better as a partner. Technologies provide us with a vast array to tools to solve problems and improve our world. Partnerships help us to personalize those solutions with specific people, and specific knowledge, toward a common purpose.

Embracing the Cloud

With increasing frequency, that common purpose means moving up—to the cloud. EXCEL is at the forefront of this new development, helping organizations exploit the benefits that cloud-based solutions can offer: reduced costs, expanded access, improved consistency, and outstanding business continuity. It’s a new set of technologies with a new set of challenges, and EXCEL is managing the migration and minimizing disruptions for our partners throughout the United States.

A New Generation of Leadership

In 2012, EXCEL welcomed new Executive Leadership to the organization. Mr. Jewell is now joined by a new President, Neonu Jewell (his daughter), and his son, Curtis T. Jewell II, who serves as EXCEL's Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications. Both are veterans of Accenture, LLP (one of the world's largest IT Consulting Firms) and both hold MBA degrees (Neonu also has earned her JD). New leadership brings new vision, new opportunities, and a renewed commitment to innovation and service excellence. The pace of technology is accelerating, but the underlying needs of all organizations remain the same: good people, efficient processes, effective tools, and robust partnerships. EXCEL will continue to help firms to align these in service to the most important common purpose of all: serving their clients, their needs, and their way of life.

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Articles http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2014/8/scomsdc-connections-magazine-article Sat, 09 Aug 2014 01:25:00 GMT
EXCEL Management Systems - One-Page Company Overview http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/excel-management-systems---one-page-company-overview Confidence. Experience. Reliability. Trust.
 

Modern business and technology are becoming synonymous, but the technology curve is accelerating, and with it, the complexity and sophistication of business operations. No business can possibly keep up on its own, and yet every business must. EXCEL Management Systems can help.
 
At EXCEL, we manage technology, and we design processes. We integrate these in service to optimizing the operations of your organization, so you can focus on what’s really important:  your products, your services, and your clients. We do it with our own field- and time-tested processes, and with the most highly skilled technical professionals in the business community. Perhaps most important, we do this collaboratively, in the finest tradition of business partnership, offering advice, taking instruction, anticipating problems, and doing our best every day to help you and your organization thrive.
 
Responsive, Collaborative Problem Resolution

 
EXCEL IT professionals work on-site, locally, remotely, and virtually—but they never work alone. Every EXCEL professional is backed by an extensive internal service organization that prides itself on rapid response and efficient problem resolution on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis. As an EXCEL client, you’ll enjoy the simplicity of a single point of contact, backed by an entire organization trained in proactive systems management,  accurate problem diagnosis and efficient remediation. 
 
Prevention is the Optimal Cure

 
Our team of experienced professionals employs rigorous processes and proven management methodologies to each and every project. While this is necessary and important, it is no longer sufficient. As the modern technology curve accelerates, anticipation becomes crucial; prevention becomes paramount. In todays business world, downtime means losses and competitive disadvantage. EXCEL can  repair the problems you currently have, but more importantly, we’ll be sure that you avoid the problems that have yet to surface.
 
A History of Proven Excellence

 
As a full-service Information Technology solutions provider, EXCEL can boast of an outstanding history of success and excellence spanning over a quarter of a century. EXCEL is led and owned by Mr. Curtis Jewell, who founded the company and today serves as Chief Executive Officer. With corporate offices located in Columbus, Ohio, EXCEL can boast of decades of success both regionally and nationally. With marquis clients in Federal, State, and Commercial markets EXCEL’s record of success has helped to undergird the business with an outstanding financial base, which is confirmed by a 3A1 rating from Dunn and Bradstreet—the highest rating offered.
 
Join Us

 
Non-profits are not like for-profit enterprises—the challenges and opportunities are unique. EXCEL has been helping non-profit organizations to thrive for decades, and we understand both the needs and restrictions of the non-profit sector. So it’s time to accelerate your organizational technology, fortify your back office, and eliminate the headaches associated with keeping pace. We’ll help you modernize your infrastructure, ensure your business continuity, and do business better than you ever thought possible.
 
A Special Incentive
If you choose to access EXCEL’s comprehensive suite of IT solutions through the Human Services Chapter, you’ll be entitled to a 15% discount off of our standard service rates. So let’s get started today.
 
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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Copywriting http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/excel-management-systems---one-page-company-overview Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:15:00 GMT
Five Practical Ideas to Aid in Your ICD-10 Transition http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2014/2/five-practical-ideas-to-aid-in-your-icd-10-transition Five Practical Ideas to Aid in Your ICD-10 Transition

October, 2014 is coming—the implementation date for ICD-10. It may seem comfortably distant, but it really isn't; not in view of the magnitude of the challenge, and the widespread impacts to the medical industry, your practice, and your ongoing financial health. ICD-10 preparedness now looms large as the single most important industry transformation in the modern medical era, and practitioners increasingly ignore it at their own peril.

The ICD-10 code set is eight times the size of ICD-9, but the challenge doesn’t end there; the new codes are now alphanumeric, structured differently, provide for laterality, and make more extensive use of diagnosis groupings. It’s not just a new language, it’s a new way of doing business. The challenge in migrating to ICD-10 is daunting, but you can take a few simple steps to help manage the migration with aplomb.

Here are five practical ideas that can help minimize mistakes, shorten the learning curve, and minimize disruptions to your services, your patients, and your revenue cycle.

One: It’s Not a Burden, It’s a Project

No change of this magnitude can happen smoothly without planning, and no plan of any complexity can succeed without a designated individual to champion the process within the organization. You’ll need to appoint a highly-qualified person to select and lead the transition team, prepare a transition plan, evangelize the project, and take responsibility for the transition metrics. This individual will need the skills of a project manager and the authority of a director. Among the tasks and responsibilities instrumental to this role are the following:

  • Document the current operational and actuarial status of the organization.
  • Develop a strategic roadmap and a tactical project plan to manage ICD-10 migration throughout the organization.
  • Engage key stakeholders about the need for, cost of, and expectations associated with ICD-10 compliance.
  • Engage and track information technology and training resources.
  • Develop a set of metrics to measure the success of the transition.
  • Report migration status on an ongoing basis to key stakeholders and executive management, including key deliverables, budgets, compliance metrics, and actuarial trajectories.

None of this is divergent from standard project management best practices, but the stakes and the risk for this particular project are very high, and none of it is optional.

Two: Eliminate Guesswork with a Gap Analysis

A formal gap analysis is an excellent tool for identifying specific areas of concern within a project or an organization.  Gap analysis involves determining, documenting, and approving the variance between business requirements and current capabilities, and it will help you to gain a detailed understanding of how ICD-10 will impact your organization. Once these variances have been identified, they can be addressed with specific, targeted responses.

Areas to consider in a gap analysis include, but are not limited to:

  • Coding expertise and staffing levels
  • Information technology capacity and usage trajectory
  • Claims processing, including documentation requirements
  • Analytics and fraud detection
  • Enrollment, eligibility, and benefits

A thorough gap assessment will tell you precisely what is needed, when it is needed, and why. From there, you can develop a timeline for remediation, as well as accurate cost estimates.

Three: Take Advantage of Educational Opportunities

Specialty associations, such as AHIMA, AMA, MGMA, and a variety of billing associations will be offering training programs and related information. Take advantage of these opportunities. The learning curve for ICD-10 is steep, and the sooner you begin training your staff, the sooner your organization will benefit.

One of the most important challenges to your organization will be the inevitable productivity impacts that training necessitates. This can be mitigated somewhat by the judicious use of online educational programs; many of these are available off-hours and off-premises, including Industry webinars that focus on specific aspects of the ICD-10 transition. Monitor the topics of these webinars and ensure that your staff members attend those most appropriate to their individual roles and responsibilities.

Four: Enlist Technology to Ease the Transition

Accurate coding was once the exclusive domain of highly skilled professional coders, and while they remain critical to an efficient accounts receivable process, it is also true that modern technology can be of tremendous assistance. Computer-Assisted Coding (CAC) is a highly sophisticated and mature technology that derives and assigns appropriate medical codes automatically by scanning and scrutinizing clinical documentation. The process saves time, reduces errors, and streamlines coding operations. Many CAC systems are already ICD-10-compliant, and they can serve not only as a time-saving assistant, but as a learning tool and reference as your staff ramps up.

Chances are good that in addition to staff education and process improvements, you’ll need to upgrade your information technology infrastructure. At the very least, software upgrades will be necessary for ICD-10 compliance, and these may necessitate newer, more capable hardware as well.

Five: Don’t Go it Alone

Synchronizing the training of the coding staff with the capabilities of new technology is likely to be difficult, and it may be advisable to employ outside coding assistance to bridge the gap. The United States is late to the ICD-10 transition, and there is a great deal of reliable ICD-10 coding expertise available from business organizations that have already assisted other countries in the transition. They can provide expertise, guidance, and ease the increased workload that the transition is certain to cause for your professional coding staff.

You should also consider consulting with an expert in ICD-10. They’ll provide training and timeline recommendations, alert you to common pitfalls, and will probably save you far more in avoiding mistakes than they are likely to cost.

None of these items is rocket science, but ICD-10 is not just another shift in standards. It’s a tectonic shift in the entire healthcare sector, and it needs to be taken seriously. Plan for it seriously, take a common-sense approach, and get started today. October 2014 will be here sooner than you think.

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Blog http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2014/2/five-practical-ideas-to-aid-in-your-icd-10-transition Sun, 09 Feb 2014 02:24:00 GMT
GeBBS Computer Aided Coding http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/gebbs-computer-aided-coding Why You Should Include Computer-Assisted Coding in Your ICD-10 Transition Plan

In the world of western medicine, better outcomes may be the objective, but financial health—for patients and service providers alike—is the domain of the insurance industry. Coding for prompt, proper reimbursement from payers is already challenging, because profits are predicated on denials, and improperly-coded services just don’t get paid. Like it or not, accurate codes are the keys to the kingdom, and the number of keys is about to quadruple.

ICD-9 has been around for about thirty years, and it’s getting long in the tooth. Rapid medical advancements in diagnostic and remedial capacity have long since exceeded the capabilities of the code set, and coding for reimbursement has become an art as much as a science—a kind of medical haiku that masks as well as illuminates. ICD-10 has been developed to correct this problem, with greater specificity and structural enhancements that will enable precise coding without the haiku. ICD-10 has already been implemented in many nations around the world, and it has been mandated for use in the United States beginning late in 2014. 

Unfortunately, the scope of this change is enormous, and the transition to ICD-10 will affect every part of your practice, from operational processes to back-office billing. Your systems will change, your information technology will change, and the burden on your medical and actuarial staffs will be substantial. Make no mistake: the transition to ICD-10 is going to require one of the longest and most intense learning curves in the history of the healthcare industry, and your revenue stream will be impacted. The trick is to minimize the impact in the short-term, and benefit from the changes in the long term.

Enter CAC

Every service provider will require assistance to make this transition—in consulting, in training, and in technology. Technology in particular will prove to be a crucial asset, and you will find that you can minimize transition costs with thoughtful technology investments. Chief among these investment options is Computer-Assisted Coding (CAC). Modern CAC systems have come a long way from their forebears, and today utilize advanced technologies such as natural language understanding and contextual analysis to decipher and extract remarkably accurate coding from medical records. The proposition is simple: use CAC to automate the rote, mundane, and repetitive aspects of coding, and reserve your valuable coding staff for the more complex cases. Oversight is preserved, manual labor is reduced, time is saved, and costs are lowered. It’s an attractive option for an overworked coding staff.

More significant is the fact that CAC is an elegant and effective way to ease the transition to ICD-10. Many CAC systems are already ICD-10 compliant, and can be used as a vital educational tool for your coding staff during the transition. Specifics will vary from practice to practice, but as a practical matter, both code sets will be needed for a period of time. CAC systems can provide immediate ICD-10 coding expertise, allowing your staff to compare and contrast coding methods. They can provide a reference point for the development of training materials using live clinical data, thus assuring contextual familiarity for coding staff and physicians alike. The training curve will be smoother, shorter, and less costly. Payer compliance will improve, and documentation and reporting requirements will be fortified.

Implications for Professional Staff

It is important to understand that modern CAC systems do not replace professional coders, nor are they intended to. CAC systems have become extremely accurate, but no system is perfect, and any technology must remain subject to professional oversight, regardless of sophistication. CAC assists the professional coder with automation, and reinforces best practices with reliability and consistency. It is not a final authority. The productivity of your staff will certainly increase, but then the workload associated with ICD-10 is also going to increase. CAC will help them to cope; it will not replace them.

Specific Benefits

CAC has a enjoyed a rapid growth in modern healthcare delivery systems because it provides crucial, undeniable benefits to practitioners and service providers. These benefits will accelerate with ICD-10. They include improvements in:

  • Accuracy: CAC systems offer most organizations a substantial improvement in coding accuracy. Many systems today claim first-pass accuracy rates in excess of 97%. Better accuracy means fewer denials, fewer auditing discrepancies, and more time to unearth and correct lost charges. This will be particularly important in the early days of the ICD-10, when susceptibility to coding errors is highest, and payer scrutiny is most intense.
  • Compliance: CAC systems will improve your payer compliance right out of the box. You’ll see fewer coding and billing errors, reductions in the risk of a charge of fraud, more accurate accounts receivable, and the ability to identify trends and problems that can be addressed through physician and staff education.
  • Consistency: Consistency is a fundamental component of any set of best practices, and automated systems provide the reliability and predictability borne of an algorithmic approach. The robustness of your coding processes will improve, and with it, the confidence of your professional coders and your actuarial staff, who can depend on more accurate results for both clinical and financial analyses.  
  • Productivity: CAC will improve your staff productivity significantly. Hours spent manually coding can be substantially reduced or eliminated with excellent accuracy rates. Your professional staff can instead focus on complex cases and ramp up on the larger code set that ICD-10 represents—without the loss of throughput that you might otherwise expect.

Start Preparing Now

The transition to ICD-10 is big, it’s important, and it’s unavoidable. Compliance is mandatory if you want to get paid, and CAC can help ease the transition in numerous ways. Give us a call if you have questions about CAC and how it can help your practice to survive and thrive in the the coming months.

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Blog http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/gebbs-computer-aided-coding Wed, 24 Jul 2013 02:00:00 GMT
XEROX - Excerpt from SIQA Instructor Guide http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/xerox---excerpt-from-siqa-instructor-guide

Note: This is an excerpt from the beginning of a 40-page training document prepared for Xerox field representatives

Aims and Objectives

This course provides users with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively calibrate a Xerox® C75 Color Press for optimal print quality. Upon completion of this course, the user will have a basic understanding of the calibration process, and will be able to correctly operate the press to calibrate it’s operation for each type of stock to be used.

How to Best Prepare

Print out this Instructor Guide and use it to take notes while reviewing other resources for trainers.

To complete the exercises, you will need the following:

  • Access to a fully configured and functioning Xerox® C75 Color Press.
  • A basic understanding of the normal operation of the press, including the proper use of the Control Panel, the document scanning platen, and the stock trays.
  • Access to a network-attached Personal Computer (PC) that has been configured with the Simple Image Quality Adjustment (SIQA) program.
  • Access to a printed Background Plate for use in the Alignment Adjustment procedure.
  • You will be printing a small number of calibration documents. Ensure that you have a sufficient quantity of blank stock. You will be using:
    • 8.5” x11” Uncoated 90 GSM paper for the Alignment Adjustment exercise
    • 11” x 17” Uncoated 90 GSM paper for the Density Adjustment exercise
    • Additional blank stock to place on the platen as part of the Density Adjustment scanning procedure

Exercises

All exercises include step-by-step instructions. For each exercise, be prepared to:

  • Define the feature in the exercise
  • Provide the benefits of the feature
  • Work through the exercise and demonstrate it
  • Debrief the exercise upon completion

Background

Simple Image Quality Adjustment (SIQA) is a set of maintenance programs and procedures that adjust the image quality of the printed images generated by the Xerox® C75 Color Press. These adjustments generate an individual profile for each stock to be used on the machine. The profile is then used each time the associated stock is used, ensuring optimal print quality.

SIQA performs two types of adjustments:

  • Alignment: The Alignment procedure generates an individual alignment profile for each stock used in the press. This profile ensures that the stock is aligned correctly as it passes through the press.
  • Density Uniformity: The Density Uniformity procedure also generates an individual profile for each stock to be used in the press. This profile ensures that ink is deposited uniformly and consistently across the entire surface of a page for each print.

The SIQA calibration tool runs on a network-attached personal computer. It does not run directly on the press. As a result, a central PC can be used to calibrate more than one press in the office.

Use of the SIQA tool is a multi-step process. Some of the steps occur at the PC, and some of the steps occur at the press. SIQA is run separately for each stock that will be used in the machine.

There are three sets of steps that are performed in calibrating C75 Color Press with the SiQA tool. Each of these is covered as a separate exercise in this training document. They are:

  1. Establish Communications: SIQA only operates in Administrator mode. You will log in as an administrator at the press Control Panel. Then you will launch the SIQA program on the PC, where you will connect SIQA to the press administrator account. This step need only be performed once per SIQA session. Multiple calibrations for different stocks can then be performed in sequence.
  2. Generate and Scan Calibration Charts: You will then generate and scan a number of Calibration Charts at the press. One set of scans is created for the Alignment Adjustment procedure, and a different set of scans is created for the Density Uniformity Adjustment procedure. These scans are stored in a special folder on the administrator account. They are used by the SIQA program to generate accurate profiles for the machine.
  3. Create the Stock Profile: At the PC, you will select a calibration procedure, and SIQA will retrieve the scans created in (1) above. SIQA will perform the calibration and generate a stock profile, which is then stored on the press under a descriptive name that you provide. This profile will then be used whenever the stock that you have profiled is used in the machine.

[continued]

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Training http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2015/2/xerox---excerpt-from-siqa-instructor-guide Mon, 26 Nov 2012 19:45:00 GMT
Xerox - Excerpt from iGEN 150 Technical and Marketing Overview http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/xerox---excerpt-from-igen-150-technical-and-marketing-overview Note: This is an excerpt from the beginning of a 100-page training document prepared for Xerox sales and field personnel.

Introduction

Throughout its history, Xerox has invented and reinvented the printing industry with unmatched standards of excellence and innovation. Xerox continues that tradition with the introduction of iGen 150, Xerox’s new flagship digital color press based on the revolutionary iGen technology platform. Building on the extraordinary capabilities of the iGen4, iGen 150 delivers remarkable improvements in image quality, imaging consistency, and press floor productivity that set new standards for the printing industry, and deliver dramatic new opportunities for business growth and profitability to your customers and prospects.

Designed for a Changing Industry

The worldwide market for high-end digital printing has exploded. Page volumes have doubled in the last five years, and the competitive landscape for print providers has become intense. Excellent image quality is now standard fare, and the rated speed of a digital press is no longer a significant productivity bottleneck. The digital printing industry has become commoditized, and Xerox customers must compete on the basis of volume and efficiency in addition to extraordinary image quality. It’s not just about the technology—not any more. Sheets per hour is where you start; jobs per day is where you finish, day in and day out, season after season. Today, digital printing is all about productivity.

The iGen family answers the challenge of a changing industry by delivering enhancements not only on the printed page, but beyond it as well. On the page, iGen 150 produces extraordinary image quality that approaches lithographic offset. Beyond the page, iGen 150 press operators work more efficiently, handing more jobs of greater variety with less set-up time, fewer interventions, and less downtime for press maintenance. Beyond press productivity, iGen 150 offers new business opportunities to profitably handle jobs that were once the exclusive purview of offset printing. iGen 150 does this for customized, on-demand, variable data-driven applications.

A Greater variety of applications means new business opportunities, while greater efficiency means a better bottom line. In a word, iGen 150 is about growth—in volume, in capability, in market reach, and in profitability.

Addressing the Customer’s Needs

From image quality to expanding markets, the changing nature of the digital printing industry has given rise to a number of specific customer needs that iGen 150 is designed to address. Here’s a brief overview of each of them.

A New Imaging Path

The iGen 150 has a new imaging path that takes advantage of a 2,400 x 2,400 spot per inch laser imaging density, and more traditional lithographic rosettes and screening angles. In addition, improved RGB rendering produces more vibrant colors. The result is spectacular visual impact, with improved shape, detail, sharpness, and improved quality for small text and fine lines.

Improving the Job

Job quality is about more than the image, it’s about consistency from page to page—in color, in registration, and in uniformity. iGen 150 continues and improves upon the standards set by iGen4. The new and improved Color Maintenance Tool (CMT) provides highly-accurate, automated color consistency, and it’s designed to run automatically on the basis of flexible user-defined triggers. The result is extraordinary tonal consistency from page to page and job to job that integrates easily with existing workflows.

iGen 150 also contains an in-line spectrophotometer (ILS) that automates color adjustments and calibration in real time, right from the paper path. Image quality is better and more consistent, even for spot colors, and subjective evaluation is entirely eliminated. And Xerox’s patented Auto Density Control virtually eliminates streaking by detecting and correcting density variations—automatically.

iGen 150’s Automated Image-On-Paper Registration Setup delivers near-perfect side-to-side registration, even for challenging multi-up and crossover pieces.  It’s all designed to improve page-to-page consistency and reduce the likelihood of operator intervention.

Improving the Production Environment

Productivity in a production print shop is about automation, integration, flexibility, and speed. This means keeping the press running, automating routine tasks, minimizing job setup time, and distributing labor costs across a larger, more diverse spectrum of short- and long-run jobs.

iGen 150 is designed to comfortably co-exist with an offset press, automatically handling shorter-run, short-turn jobs with built-in technologies to match color, reduce setup times, and reduce production costs. Prepress decisions are made quickly and automatically—regardless of the skill level of the operator, and digital and offset jobs are integrated into the same touchless workflow, complementing each other to drive revenue growth.

iGen 150 supports a wide range of stock, stacking, and finishing options to minimize intervention and deliver unprecedented operational flexibility on the production floor. Multiple pick points for stocks, covers, and inserts ensure maximum job processing flexibility, including the ability to intermix paper stocks within a job. Load- and unload-while-running capabilities for stocks, dry inks, and carriers ensure continuous press operation with minimum down time. The result is expanded opportunity for offset complement/transfer and an improved bottom line for the business.

iGen 150 is fast—really fast. A variety of hardware and software improvements and carbon nanotube fusing technology combine to produce a raw 25% speed increase over earlier-generation presses. But speed isn’t just about pages per minute, it’s about pages per shift, including overhead processes for color consistency, time-to-color, cycle up, and pitch mode. iGen 150 delivers advances in each of these areas to add production environment productivity well beyond rote speed ratings. The result is a shop that is more than just faster—it’s more efficient, more productive, and more cost-effective from shift to shift, year-in and year-out. This has been independently confirmed in a report by Spencer Labs. See section 5.4.2.3 for details.

Improving the Business

iGen 150 can handle jobs that no other other digital press has ever been able to tackle—at effective print rates of up to 150 A4 pages per minute. With the new 26-inch / 660 mm DFA-compliant stacker, the iGen 150 opens new opportunities for poster and large-format gate-fold print jobs. Even smaller jobs will benefit from higher-density multi-ups on a larger physical sheet. The new 26-inch / 660 mm in-line stacker provides options for stacking large sheets or staging them for in-line finishing operations. Greater capacity means lower production costs, improved job volume, and expansion into new markets.

Matte Dry Ink emulates offset ink sets, and delivers extraordinary imaging capabilities for the rapidly-expanding commercial photo printing market. Colors are richer, gloss differential is reduced—especially on silk, uncoated, or matte stocks—and overall image quality is simply astounding. The result: production print shops can offer new products that were once too expensive or too time-consuming to produce in-house, and take on new work that was previously not possible.

Less is More. More is Less.

It all adds up to more, and less. More dots on the page, more area on the sheet, more jobs on the shift, more dollars in the bank. And less—less operator intervention, less between-job setup, less press downtime, less waste.

iGen 150 has been built to help print providers grow—in productivity, in efficiency, and in size. More volume, less overhead. It’s an equation your customers will love.

The System At-A-Glance

Print Engine Enhancements For Greater Productivity

iGen 150 is engineered with robust components that combine to produce the fastest press speeds and paper handling in its class, while retaining unmatched image quality. Key components and technologies include:

  • Feeder and Stacker Modules
    iGen 150 has standard feeding and stacking modules that let customers print a greater range of applications and run jobs faster on larger paper sizes—up to 26 inches / 660 mm. One feeder and one stacker are included in the standard configuration, while additional stackers (26” / 660 mm) and feeders (either 22.5” / 571 mm or 26” / 660 mm) can be added.Finishing Flexibility
    A 26-inch / 660 mm stacker provides a gateway to a variety of DFA-compliant finishing options such as booklet makers. This feature extends the inline capabilities of the system to offer new finishing options.
  • New Print Engine Technology
    The print engine of the iGen 150 contains unprecedented advancements in xerography, image quality, and speed, including:
  • Carbon Nanotube Fusing Technology that contributes to iGen 150’s high print speed of 137 ppm—a 25% increase over iGen4.
  • Auto Density Control is an iGen family technology that virtually eliminates streaking by automatically detecting density variations and streaks as small as one millimeter and correcting them automatically, without operator intervention.
  • Matte Dry Ink, introduced with iGen 4, is now a standard feature. This ink helps the iGen family to mimic the look and feel of offset, and allows customers to compete in new markets, such as photo reproduction.
  • A new Raster Output Scanner (ROS) creates outstanding image resolutions of 2400 x 2400 spots per inch. This new laser imaging delivers stunning images that demonstrate improvements in detail shape, and dimension. 
  • Output Module
    The Output Module includes an Inline Spectrophotometer (ILS) which functions as part of the Color Maintenance Tool. The ILS automates color adjustments and calibrations to consistently deliver superior image quality and spot color accuracy, while also saving operator time.
  • Press Interface Designed For Ease of Use
    The Press Interface automates much of the press maintenance that many operators are doing manually. This automation increases press availability and also decreases subjective evaluation of press operation and print quality.
  • Print Servers
    Customers can select either a Xerox® FreeFlow® Print Server or a Xerox® EX Print Server, powered by Fiery®. Both print servers contain the latest feature upgrades, and can be selected based on operator experience or workflow capabilities.Finishing Capabilities
    As with iGen4, an extraordinary range of finishing options are available—even for extra large 26-inch / 660 mm stock. A full range of third-party booklet makers, perfect binders, roll feeders, stacker & die cutters, aqueous coaters and sheet coaters have been enhanced to support the new stock size and speed capabilities of the press.

[continued]

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Marketing http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/xerox---excerpt-from-igen-150-technical-and-marketing-overview Tue, 10 Jul 2012 18:45:00 GMT
Calamp Fusion http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-fusion Fusion

A CalAmp White Paper

 

The Marriage of Public and Private Networks

 

For too long, industrial network providers have faced a choice: go public or go private. Each type of network offers strengths and weaknesses: speed vs. reliability; security vs. broad-based access; coverage vs. cost. Industrial networks have often opted for private solutions, which have traditionally provided greater security, resiliency, and range than their public counterparts—factors that are paramount in mission-critical industrial communications infrastructure. The tradeoff, however, has been in speed. Private narrowband networks are constrained to far lower data rates than their public wideband counterparts, and no amount of clever engineering can overcome the inherent constraints of the physics of the electromagnetic spectrum. Yet speed is becoming increasingly important as technological capabilities increase and network intelligence is extended to edge devices. Intelligent networks are speed-dependent and information dense; more data from more devices in ever larger networks must be transmitted more quickly in order to facilitate responsive, intelligent decision-making.

 

The key, then, is interoperability.

 

CalAmp’s Fusion is the first industrial radio to eliminate the either-or proposition. Now, the radio itself is no longer a barrier to the inherent strengths that public and private networks can each offer. Fusion can accommodate all modern networks, both public and private, simultaneously. Decisions can be made in real time, rather than beforehand, about what network will best service the needs at hand. Programmatic decisions can be made to accommodate lower overall network operations costs, including least-cost routing and store-and-forward functionality. High-speed unlicensed bandwidth can be exploited when it’s available and unencumbered; slower, more reliable private networks can be used when it isn’t. Fusion revitalizes the public/private partnership, allowing long-range, lower speed networks to service remote rural areas, while providing higher speed access to more densely populated regions—without the need for alternate hardware.

 

The Flexible Solution

 

CalAmp first began addressing the interoperability problem years ago with software-definable radio (SDR) technology, which could modify of the operational parameters of a radio platform through simple software modifications. This allowed individual radios on specific networks to be tailored to the environment in which they were to operate without the need for hardware modifications. Features could be enabled and disabled, and performance parameters fine-tuned to the specific radio in question. This simplified the operation, maintenance and hardware base for within-network communications; over-the-air programming eased and centralized the administration of large radio networks, and helped CalAmp clients to reduce their operational costs.

 

Fusing Hardware and Software Independence

 

CalAmp’s Fusion extends the powerful SDR concept into the hardware domain as well. Fusion is an all-new, groundbreaking industrial wireless radio platform that is more than just flexible, more than just software-defined, and more than just feature-extensible. Fusion is network-independent. It enables access to a wide variety of both traditional and modern public and private wireless networks, and it does so automatically, to each of them, with the ability to switch from one networking technology to another—on the fly, in real time, according to software-defined parameters such as network availability, or transmission throughput, or quality of service (QOS), or any other operational metric that might be useful.

 

Flexible Network Access

 

Fusion accomplishes this unprecedented technological feat by employing a highly-sophisticated generic backplane that accepts specific network adapter cards for each network to be accessed. A single, common radio platform, therefore, can be configured to accommodate a wide variety of wireless operational environments, including LTE Band 13, 802.11b/g WiFi, (Phase I) LTE Bands 14, and 17, 802.11n (phase II), and support for Gobi cellular modems for 3G CDMA or GSM access (Phase III). Transparent access to CalAmp’s proprietary Gemini private high-speed network is always available as well. In general, virtually any type of wireless network can be accommodated by the the CalAmp Fusion platform—both those in operation today, and those of tomorrow. Fusion, therefore, has product extensibility designed right into the hardware, giving its rugged industrial packaging new practical functional life as the technology curve continues to accelerate.

 

Network-Independent Features

 

Flexibility of this type is not limited simply to network access, and Fusion offers a wide array of corollary technologies as well. In the WiFi domain, for example, Fusion can act both as an Access Point (AP) or as a client radio, and can do both concurrently. This means that a Fusion-equipped vehicle, for example, can operate as a mobile hotspot tethered to the vehicle, enabling remote on-site video or photographic data communications, or high-speed access to rich media from smartphone-enabled first responders or field technicians.

 

Fusion can be configured to operate as a Wide Area Network (WAN) router, supporting multiple networks simultaneously, and offering port-based routing addressable by applications to any WAN. This kind of capability can support least-cost routing functions, for example, or store and forward capabilities for rich media data streams.

 

Fusion also supports the Geographic Positioning System (GPS), with time and position reporting, including both local and remote delivery. This provides options for mapping- and proximity-related applications in mobile environments.

 

Fusion offers standard modern networking capabilities, such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), which facilitates programming and communications access to the radio itself. Subsequent phases of the Fusion feature release cycle will include Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities over multiple WANs, integration with CalAmp Cloud Services for features such as over-the-air firmware upgrades, Bluetooth support for near-field communications in the vicinity of the radio itself, and terminal server capability via USB access. In total, It’s the most comprehensive industrial wireless feature set available, supporting virtually every type of popular networking technology in existence—all housed in one incredibly powerful, flexible radio platform, hardened for the industrial marketplace, and supported by the most responsive and capable engineering staff in the industry.

 

Security

 

World-class security is a common feature of all CalAmp radios, and Fusion is no exception. Fusion supports a number of security protocols, including Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), is a protocol suite for securing IP communications by authenticating and encrypting each IP packet of a communication session. IPsec also includes protocols for establishing mutual authentication between agents at the beginning of the session and negotiation of cryptographic keys to be used during the session. Fusion supports the 140 series of Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), a set of U.S. government computer security standards that specify requirements for cryptography modules. WiFi security standards are also supported, including Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit encryption.

 

Cost of Ownership

 

This implications for network service providers are substantial. Fusion is the first radio platform that allows a single wireless hardware base to be deployed to support any networking technologies that may be in operation. This vastly simplifies the tasks of installing and maintaining the radio fleet; technicians need only learn the specifics and maintenance procedures for a single radio platform. The cost of deploying multiple radios for multiple networks is largely eliminated, and the complexity of a multi-radio environment is vastly reduced, both for the technicians who maintain the hardware, and for the operators who use them in the field.

 

As the fleet scales up to thousands of units, the complexity and costs associated with sparing are also substantially reduced; network adapter cards can be spared, rather than entire radios, reducing not only costs, but physical storage requirements, and the use of a common radio platform eases the administrative complexity of managing and tracking larger numbers of physical configurations involving multiple networks, technologies, and vendors. Field personnel can be confident that a small number of spare units carried in the vehicle, for example, will accommodate any hardware failures that might arise—even in situations where the specific failure has yet to be diagnosed. This means lower operational costs for the network, and lower overall costs of ownership for the industrial network provider.

 

The Open Developer Platform

 

To support the impressive capabilities of the Fusion platform, CalAmp is developing the Open Developer Platform (ODP), scheduled for release in Phase III. ODP will provide extensive Applications Programming Interface (API) access to the capabilities of the radio, thus allowing individual clients to develop specific operational features for their network of fixed and mobile Fusion radios.

 

CalAmp also maintains close corporate working relationships with a number of world-class applications providers to provide turnkey solutions for industry-specific applications needs such as dispatching, AMR/AMI, and backhaul. ODP will ease the development of these applications, and speed their time to market, providing enhanced benefits for Fusion networks nationwide.

 

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) White Papers http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-fusion Tue, 14 Feb 2012 21:30:00 GMT
Calamp Introduces COLT http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-introduces-colt Introducing COLT

Background

M2M in the Information Age

Each one of us benefits from wireless technology every day. Many of these benefits are obvious: wireless mobile handsets, network television, set-top satellite communications...the list is long and integral to modern society. But each one of us benefits in less obvious ways as well. Wireless technologies that support our modern infrastructure are not immediately evident to the consumer, perhaps, but they are no less important. Backhaul networks, public safety and first responder support, and Machine to Machine (M2M) communications all serve the technologies that directly serve us. And they are undergoing a transformation every bit as radical and aggressive as the wireless smartphone.

M2M communications in particular is advancing at an impressive rate. The development of robust cloud-based technologies, improved sensor technologies, and tools for rapid prototyping and integration based upon open standards have combined to enhance the reach, ubiquity, and overall capability of M2M applications. Wireless isn’t just in your handset any more; it’s in your vehicle fleet, your product packaging, your industrial devices, and your commercial assets. 

In fact, M2M isn’t really just about machine-to-machine communications any longer. The rise of peer-to-peer social networking as a communications paradigm is affecting traditional M2M networks as well; today, M2M is often also used to refer to ‘Man to Machine’ or ‘Machine to Man’ communications, or, more broadly, to ‘Mobile to Mobile’ communications for men and machines that move. In this context, and ‘M’ is simply an instrumented asset, man or machine, that can communicate wirelessly.

Collectively, this means rapid growth in the sheer number of trackable assets, and with it, new opportunities to improve the collection, data mining, and business intelligence that arises from intelligently-implemented M2M networks.

The Challenge 

Difficulties with Implementation

New opportunities for wireless M2M infrastructure bring new challenges. Increasingly, organizations recognize the necessity of improving their business intelligence infrastructure in order to remain completive, but they lack the skill and experience to do so quickly and cost-effectively. Modern wireless networks may be easy to use, but they are difficult to build, maintain, and manage, and they are almost always peripheral to the core competencies of an organization. This is doubly true of M2M networks, which are frequently embedded, invisible, and automated, requiring highly-secure, round-the-clock availability. 

Typical M2M implementations require in excess of two years, and suffer two to three failures before they are up and running. Most organizations simply cannot sustain a ramp-up like this in any area, much less in one that is so essential to core business operations. This is further complicated by the fact that most organizations already have business relationships with multiple wireless service providers, operating on different networks, with different capabilities, different cost structures, and different coverage areas. Billing, accounting, user account management—it’s all overhead, and it’s all a headache.

Today, CalAmp has the solution.

Introducing COLT

CalAmp Online Telemetric System

COLT is the solution to the vexing problems that accompany the development of effective and efficient M2M networking solutions. COLT is a modular, scalable cloud-based service platform for enabling and implementing wireless M2M telematics and telemetric solutions rapidly and cost-effectively. The platform is rich and powerful, with support for a broad spectrum of wireless instruments, communications protocols, and public network interfaces.

COLT is ideal for the deployment of applications like Mobile Inventory Management, Personal Tracking, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Any M2M application that might benefit from real-time cloud-based wireless communications is an excellent candidate for the COLT service platform. And Colt supports a wide variety of wireless technologies, including CalAmp devices, third-party devices, GSM/GPRS devices, SMS, and Voice Messaging. Chances are, the technologies you already use will work without modification.

The COLT Service Platform

At CalAmp, open source software is how we do business, and COLT is no exception. COLT supports the most popular open source software platforms, including Redhat, MySQL Enterprise, Apache, and PHP. 

COLT has been implemented as a layered service, offering highly-secure access at the Communications layer, the Service layer, and the Applications layer. All COLT services can therefore be accessed flexibly and robustly by client applications via an extensive set of APIs. The result is easy integration with your business logic and your back office.

The platform itself supports in excess of 250 APIs, and functions as a Representational State Transfer (REST)-based web service. REST is a client-server architecture that will be familiar to any user of the World Wide Web; pages and links provide non-linear, user-directed access to data and resources in the network. It’s powerful, flexible, and intuitive.

COLT responses are formatted as Java Script Objet Notation (JSON). JSON is an outstanding data interchange language, because it is easily parsed by both humans and machines, it is language-independent, and it makes use of syntax that is familiar to programmers in other web-oriented languages. The learning curve is short, and adaptation is rapid.

Together, REST architecture and JSON messaging constitute a powerful, standards-based programming environment that is easy to adapt to for any engineer familiar with modern web technologies. But COLT goes even further, providing extensive documentation, sample applications for both JavaScript and .NET, and cloud-hosted development and staging environments for client-developed applications. And it’s all backed up by CalAmp’s world class consulting, development, and integration services.

Global Reach

As a cloud-based service, COLT’s reach is global. Carrier networks are used for network transport to COLT users. In the United States, carrier services are supplied by AT&T; in Canada, by Rogers Wireless, and international coverage is supplied by Vodafone. No matter where your network elements reside, COLT can reach them, with GPRS messaging for device communications, and SMS messaging for maintenance and administrative functions.

A Layered Approach 

COLT provides services at three distinct layers, and each layer is designed to accommodate a specific set of functions.

The Communications Layer

The Communications layer provides device-level communications functions. In it’s most essential form, It provides low-level, device-specific communications for wireless CalAmp and third party devices. COLT then adds comprehensive network management capabilities using carrier APIs. This permits functions such as the activation and deactivation of devices on the network, and the ability to associate devices with specific carrier accounts. Finally, COLT provides an eCommerce interface to manage the commercial aspects of the device’s operation. This includes application-specific service billing, the management of wireless rate plans, and administrative functions for activation, renewal, and notification services. It’s a comprehensive, integrated set of capabilities to enable, manage, and charge for wireless devices in the network.

The Service Layer

Just above the Communications layer is the Service Layer, which provides comprehensive messaging and management functions for the devices in the network. Whereas the Communications layer is used to establish an open communications channel to the device, the Service Layer uses that communications channel for device control and data retrieval. For example, the Service Layer is used to associate wireless devices with the network assets to which they are attached. Once the asset has been identified, it can then be associated with a specific account, and a specific rate plan.

The Service Layer also supports asset-oriented functions like messaging, including SMS, email, and voice messaging services. Other user-specific services are supported as well, including login, credentialing, and access management. Finally, the Service Layer supports network management functions, including diagnostics, prognostics, and reportage.

The Application Layer

The core services supported in the Service layer are used by applications to produce a fully-featured service. Application-layer services include smartphone-enabled mobile applications for iPhone, Blackberry, and Android wireless devices. COLT is also ideal for vehicle-related Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, including the ability to locate and track assets with account and sub-account management on an individual or bulk basis. When applied to consumers, rather  than commercial fleets, a different set of similar applications emerge, including teen tracking, vehicle monitoring, vehicle recovery, and services related to physical location and velocity, such as geofencing, speed notifications, and other actionable alerts.

Many such applications have already been developed and deployed, but COLT’s template-based, skinnable design facilitates the rapid development of custom services as well. And CalAmp can assist your engineers on a consultative basis or develop the application for you. 

COLT Security

Security is absolutely critical to any cloud-based service, and it is even more important for wireless services. COLT security is multi-faceted, comprehensive, and world-class, so your data and your applications are safe—at the asset, over the air, and in the cloud.

COLT uses highly secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunneling to secure wireless carrier and client networks, with device-to-server authentication and data encryption. Our server facility has been classified as a Class-4 Secure Co-Location facility, and features round-the-clock on-site security personnel and a biometrically secured Network Operations Center (NOC). 

COLT also features Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance, which specifies standards for physical and data security, as well as login and password management standards, and NERC CIP Compliance is planned for the second quarter of 2012, with ISO 27002 to follow shortly thereafter.

Finally, COLT security is active, not passive; we employ 24x7 real-time security scanning to identify potential security vulnerabilities and threats before they have a chance to fester, and we submit to regular, on-going independent third-party security assessments by Neohapsis to ensure that our policies and procedures remain effective, robust, and impenetrable.

With COLT, your data is safe, your applications are safe, and your network is secure.

COLT Reliability

COLT doesn’t just get you up and running quickly, we keep you running—safely, reliability, and in perpetuity. We provide every aspect of the redundancy and recoverability that you expect from a world-class data center, with reliability built-in from the operating system to the physical plant. 

COLT’s computational environment is a virtualized multi-server system with redundant load balancing, redundant servers, and redundant clustered databases. Data replication is instant, rapidly scalable, and disaster-recovery savvy. Data backups happen daily, with off-site storage, and our full-time information technology staff provides round-the-clock support.

COLT’s data center is supplied with Tier 1 Internet connectivity, featuring multiple independent distribution paths. Redundant power is standard, with dual-powered redundant HVAC environmental systems, and on-site back-up generators in case of a grid failure.

Finally, COLT supplies itself with the same level of reliability that it offers to it’s clients, with 49-hour automated device check-in, continuous network and applications monitoring, and automated network status reporting.

The Future is Now

The same paradigm that drives COLT’s rapid deployment capabilities also drives upgrades and enhancements to the system itself. CalAmp employs an agile development process that emphasizes both speed and quality in the development and deployment of feature enhancements and system upgrades. Minor releases happen at six-week intervals, with major releases at quarter intervals. 

Customer change requests are managed with a robust engineering change request system, featuring weekly reviews and equal weighting for customer and internal change requests. Finally, all new features are staged and validated in Quality Assurance, and are only moved into production after customer validation has been completed.  The system is precise, specific, and carefully managed. The result is reliable, predictable improvements for COLT and clients alike.

COLT is all about speed—in application development, in service prototyping, and in network-wide deployment. You’ll get your applications developed and deployed more rapidly and cost-effectively than you ever thought possible. Call us today to find out more, or visit www.calamp.com

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) White Papers http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-introduces-colt Thu, 01 Dec 2011 16:30:00 GMT
Calamp Session Abstract http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-session-abstract Cloud Computing and the Smart Grid

CalAmp Session Abstract

“The Network Is the Computer”

Those of you who have been immersed in the computing technology space will almost certainly recognize this slogan, coined by John Gage of Sun Microsystems, circa 1984. Sun had just developed the Network File System (NFS), a Unix-based precursor to what are now the widespread capabilities of computers to dynamically and instantly network themselves together to share files, resources, and even processor cycle time. The rise of computer networking almost immediately give commensurate rise to experimentations in Client/Server computing architectures, which permitted computing intelligence and data storage to be remotely located from the human interface devices that used them, thus offering increased flexibility, better economies of scale, and improved security.

Welcome To The Cloud

Client/Server computing came and went as an important computing paradigm as the cost and capabilities of edge devices followed Moore’s Law; it became increasingly unnecessary as desktop computational power approached supercomputer capabilities at a micro-fraction of the cost. Today, however, the Client/Server model is back in the form of cloud computing; advances in miniaturization, mobility, and wireless networking have invited a new, refined Client/Server model for anywhere/anytime access to digitized information and control of networked resources. Today, the network is no longer the computer; instead, the cloud is the server, the wireless network is the information superhighway, and the supercomputer fits in the palm of your hand.

Smart Grid Applications

Smart Grid applications are a natural fit for cloud computing. Robust wireless remote control of SCADA systems has been possible for many years as part of the evolving industrial infrastructure of the grid, but today, advances in the Smart Grid itself—coupled with modern cloud computing technologies—are making industrial-scale monitoring and control a reality for utility consumers as well. Soon, every homeowner will have access to handheld mobile control of home automation systems, which will become ever smaller, less expensive, and less inherently complex as the cloud takes on more of the computational load for control, monitoring, and notification. Appliances and grid attachment points will gain network intelligence to support automated control systems. And highly-scalable consumer energy management applications will proliferate across the grid, providing efficient load balancing and cost savings options for consumers and service providers alike.

Security

Decentralized command and control of the smart grid will accelerate the need for extremely robust security measures to cope with the enhanced flexibility and ease of access to Smart Grid applications that are represented by the emerging capabilities of the cloud. There are likely to be important situations in which private networks remain the preferable option, as is often the case today. The ability to select either option, and to move between them, will be critical for certain kinds of applications, and for service providers servicing clients with special needs.

Join Us

Join CalAmp for an in-depth discussion of the emerging cloud computing paradigm, and it’s implications for the rapidly-evolving Smart Grid. We’ll discuss emergent applications in both public and private industrial wireless networks, as well as the consumer-grade home automation capabilities that will arise and flourish as a result.

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Marketing http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-session-abstract Sun, 06 Nov 2011 21:30:00 GMT
Calamp Airboss Network Management System http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-airboss-network-management-system Airboss Network Management Data Sharing Engine

 

Early Detection, Rapid Response

 

As the size and complexity of your network grows, so does the likelihood of failure. Even extremely reliable components will fail eventually, and while it may be highly unlikely for an individual component, the likelihood grows rapidly with with the number of components in the network, their age, and the environmental extremes under which they must operate. Large wireless networks with thousands of radios will often see failures on a weekly basis, and technicians must be dispatched regularly. The key to effective network management, then, is early detection, accurate diagnosis, and rapid response.

 

Accurate Diagnosis, Proactive Repair

 

CalAmp’s Airboss Network Management Data Sharing Engine is designed to oversee your wireless network, identify and isolate problems, and track the operational performance of the network over time. Using open standard communications protocols and class-leading security features, AirbossTM provides web-based, on-demand access to critical performance metrics that range from the throughput of the entire network down to the operation of an individual radio. It will help you detect problems quickly, localize their impact, and diagnose corrective action before technicians ever head into the field.

 

Proactive Health Monitoring

 

Airboss is designed to help network administrators become proactive, rather than reactive. By tracking critical performance monitoring metrics over time, Airboss helps you identify operational trends in your network and anticipate problems before they occur. Airboss reporting capabilities are extensive, intuitive, and user-friendly. Large networks can be subdivided easily into subnets, with automatic, accurate generation of hierarchical network maps. Users can quickly drill down into the network from high-level summaries to individual links, with color-coded dashboards and mapping facilities that take the guesswork of out network diagnosis. Maintenance efforts become predictive, rather than corrective. Resource efficiency improves, network reliability increases, and operational costs drop.

 

A Powerful Toolbox

 

CalAmp wireless networks are capable of generating a large and highly-detailed volume of operational metric data, and Airboss is designed to sift and prioritize that information efficiently. When something goes wrong, the right people can be notified quickly, with pertinent, accurate, timely information. Airboss software uses sophisticated thresholding and rate-of change algorithms to identify operational exceptions in the network so that specific actions can be taken, such as an email notification or the generation of a trouble ticket. These triggering events can be defined and filtered with great flexibility and specificity, enabling AirbossTM users to easily customize the system to the exact requirements of their wireless network. Once a fault has been detected, AirbossTM provides intuitive, powerful software tools for remote troubleshooting, failure diagnosis, and remote recovery. If a technician must be dispatched, they’ll know what to expect when they arrive on site. You’ll send the right person with the right tools to correct the problem quickly.

 

Optimized For Wireless Networks

 

Traditional network monitoring systems are not well-suited to wireless networking environments. For example, latency expectations for a wireline network are completely different from those of a wireless environment. What might be regarded as a fault in a traditional network is often normal in a wireless environment. Airboss is optimized for the specialized requirements of industrial wireless networks, with the capability to monitor wireless-specific metrics such as signal strength, non-deterministic latency, voltage, radio case temperatures, and RF bandwidth utilization. Airboss can also easily integrate other types of data from attached network devices that support open standard protocols, so you’ll enjoy reporting that is specific to the exact needs and capabilities of your network.

 

The Future is Heterogeneous

 

Modern networks are rapidly becoming multi-faceted and heterogeneous. Users no longer want to rely on a single provider for mission-critical wireless infrastructure. CalAmp has enthusiastically embraced open standard protocols across it’s entire product line, and Airboss will support a wide variety of standards-compliant network-attached devices. As a software framework, Airboss need not stand alone as an isolated application; it will happily integrate with a wide variety of industry-standard third-party software frameworks, and supports Active X for thin-client access from most any modern browser. That means plug and play simplicity for both greenfield and legacy networks, and easy extension and integration as your network grows.

 

Take Control Today

 

As the industry’s premier standards-compliant wireless network management system, AirbossTM can ease the challenges of network maintenance, improve the performance and efficiency of your maintenance resources, and simplify your life as a network administrator. When downtime in mission critical wireless networks affects the bottom line, AirbossTM is the indispensable tool for effective network management, rapid diagnosis, and efficient repair. You’ll minimize outages, lower your operational costs, and improve the bottom line of your firm.

 

 

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) White Papers http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/calamp-airboss-network-management-system Fri, 04 Nov 2011 20:30:00 GMT
Blue Raven Technology Company Overview http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/company-overview-blue-raven-technology Blue Raven Technology

Company Overview

About Us

The successful 26-year history of Blue Raven Technology, Inc. is virtually synonymous with the personal computing industry itself. Founded in 1985, a scant four years after the introduction of the IBM 5150, and only a single year after the Apple Macintosh, Blue Raven can claim one of the longest and most successful business trajectories in the history of the computer repair industry.

The Early Years 

The latter half of the 1980s saw the rapid acquisition of Apple computers by schools in the metropolitan Boston area. The need for parts and service became desperate, and Blue Raven was founded to meet the burgeoning need. Blue Raven began out of the family home by purchasing and disassembling both new and used Apple computers. The parts were then repackaged and delivered to schools for the maintenance and repair of their installed base of Apple II and Macintosh computers.

Early inventories were built and fortified by flea market and auction procurement, and by 1987, the company was able to purchase the entire product inventory of Computer Depot, a Minnesota-based computer retailer. Overnight, the company grew beyond the boundaries of its home-based office space, and relocated to a large commercial site in nearby Waltham, Massachusetts.

Nationwide Expansion

By the early 1990’s word had spread of Blue Raven’s unusual capabilities, and business began to expand on several fronts. Parts supply rapidly expanded beyond local schools in the Boston area to include regional repair companies, self-maintenance corporations, local computer resellers and national retail organizations. Similarly, Blue Raven product offerings expanded beyond the Apple line to include Compaq, HP, IBM, Sony, Toshiba, eMachines, Dell and Gateway brands. With a rapidly-expanding nationwide client base, Blue Raven dramatically increased its shipping capabilities in order to serve clients in all 50 states. Today, as a top-tier parts fulfillment company, Blue Raven ships roughly 95% of its parts orders within 48 hours.

Growth And Change

By the beginning of the 1990s, the need for exceptionally rapid repair was becoming clear. Faced with the growing indispensability of computing technology in everyday business life, customers began to demand repair times measured in hours, rather than days. Blue Raven responded with the Advance Exchange parts transaction program - the first of it’s kind in the history of the parts and repair industry. Under the Advance Exchange program, customers could receive a pre-repaired part in advance of sending their defective part to the company. The program was an overwhelming success, and helped to cemented the company’s dominant and growing market share.

By the turn of the century, the metastatic growth of the personal computer industry had given rise to circuit densities measured in dozens of nanometers, powerful handheld devices, intelligent wireless handsets, and widespread mobile computing. Beginning in 2004, Blue Raven responded with the introduction of number of leading-edge products and services. Chief among these was the Blue Raven depot repair service for notebooks and desktops. This highly-successful service grew in tandem with the proliferation of electronic consumer products, and today supports even the latest of those devices, including handheld tablet devices such as the iPad.

International Expansion

Beginning in 2006, Blue Raven expanded it’s geographical reach as an aftermarket services provider to several major computer manufacturers (ODMs) in China, and fortified it’s services offerings to include returns management, providing repair, recycling, refurbishment, and remarketing of electronic goods. By 2008, the venerable parts business had expanded to include flat panel LED and LCD television screens as well.

Today, Blue Raven Technology is headquartered in a 100,000 square foot state-of-the facility located in Wilmington, Massachusetts, and is among the world’s largest suppliers of volume service parts. Blue Raven also offers an unparalleled, world-class depot-based service for high-end electronic repair. An impeccable service and delivery record, unmatched breadth of experience, and a corporate history synonymous with the personal computer industry itself has given Blue Raven a satisfied customer base of over 30,000 loyal customers worldwide.

 

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brian@brianorner.com (C. Brian Orner Photographic Arts) Marketing http://photos.brianorner.com/blog/2012/7/company-overview-blue-raven-technology Sun, 30 Jan 2011 21:30:00 GMT