Technological advancements continue to shape big business

 

How much are you paying for utilities?-Written by Erik Sargent

The world of technology evolves at a rapid pace, with changes being made and advancements happening almost by the second as people and machines become smarter and smarter, creating profound impacts on the daily lives of almost everyone.

Even with something as simple as a smart phone, people are granted the power to do tasks previously unimaginable, and we are always a touch away from anything we can think of. This rapid technological advancement can be felt in virtually every industry of life, most importantly business.

From the way we buy things and get them delivered, to the method in which we choose to transport ourselves to a new destination, there has been major technological developments in every field, which has affected big business companies tremendously. Self-driving cars have consistently found themselves in the news, and seem to be not far off from reality.

Just last month, the state of California cleared testing paths for autonomous vehicles, as the state holds more companies producing this technology than any other state in the country.

“California has more manufacturers testing autonomous vehicles than any other state and today’s rules continue our leadership with this emerging technology,” said California Transportation Agency Secretary Brian P. Kelly in a press release from the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. “These rules protect public safety, promote innovation, and lay out the path for future testing and deployment of driverless technology. This rulemaking is the next step in working with stakeholders to get this right.”

Companies like Uber and Google appear to be in the lead for advancements in this technology, and could change the way people get from place to place, and how products make their way to customers when ordering online.

“These rules expand our existing autonomous vehicle testing program to include testing vehicles where no driver is present,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto in the same press release. “This is the next step in eventually allowing driverless autonomous vehicles on California roadways.”

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Photo courtesy of Menet Aero

Another major technology that has found its way into the national discussion is the use of unmanned aerial systems, or as they’re better known, drones.

Amazon made the first national news media splash for public commercial drone usage with the proposed idea of drones delivering packages from the online shopping giant. According to Joe Hupy, the chief technical officer of Menet Aero  – a company founded to provide professional commercial UAS solutions to a variety of industries – the delivery service with drones is far off, but the technological uses are already being felt with businesses across the country.

“There’s a lot of hype surrounding the drone delivery stuff, but if you look at people who have subscribed to the Amazon drone delivery pilot projects, they stopped because they get tired of fishing it off the roof,” Hupy said. “There’s a lot of stuff out there that people in the media will cling to, and one of them is the delivery component, but the delivery component is farther away than self-driving cars because you need to be able to manage air space.”

Drone usage will hinge directly on the regulations that come from the Federal Aviation Administration, and with drones being such a new technology, there is still countless hours of work to be done figuring out the proper guidelines for commercial usage. Hupy did mention that some of the basic rules for drones include not flying the machines over crowds, keeping them under 400 feet, and making sure they are visible at all times while in air.

While people get hung up one delivery services, Hupy explained there is currently too much gray area for that to come to fruition at the moment. However, drones are already being utilized in other practices.

“For example, I did some work with a trial attorney. The trial attorney wanted to bring the jury to the scene of an accident,” Hupy said. “He had no way to display how flat a road was without taking the jury to the site, which is really costly. With a drone, you can fly that, you model that with an animated fly-through that before would have been impossible. With that drone, that was well within the means of his budget.”

The future of drones will be focused on these types of situations more than people realize, helping people gather data and analyze situations in business fields like construction, government, utilities, and energy solutions.

“The future of drones is in many ways using them to gather information and data in ways that before could only be used by the military and big science projects,” Hupy said. “This gets a lot of these different types of markets, such as construction companies, looking to monitor construction activities and county governments looking for zoning, or looking at how much area is permeable versus impermeable. There is a lot than can be done that before was just too expensive to do.”

One major company that has remained at the forefront of technological advancement is the nationally recognized moving company TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, which has found a way to implement new technologies that not only boost production for the company, but also provide a better and smoother customer experience.

An exciting development is taking place at the San Diego franchise of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, as they work to implement new drive cam technologies aimed at providing more of a situation awareness for movers and drivers in the trucks.

“San Diego is piloting a new program by Lyxt, and the new program is called Unisyn. It is merging the event-based monitoring utilized in DriveCam with ‘always on monitoring’ to capture all events, even if an event does not trigger it,” said James Silvers, IT Desktop Administrator at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s Home Office. “It is envisioned to assist the franchises with training and being able to review previous videos for incidents that may have occurred on the ramp, vehicle accidents and close calls.

Another technology TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is set to launch in 2017 is the Value Flex® moving service, which gives customers an additional long-distance moving option with reduced pricing for those flexible with their move dates.

Value Flex® will run through hubs featured at various TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® franchise locations across the country, helping the company move people anywhere across the map. State-of-the-art containers are used to hold customers’ belongings, and there is flexible scheduling for pickup and delivery.

“Every Hub will utilize tablets and will fill out the majority of the paper work digitally,” Silvers said. “We are working on a customer tracking portal that will send each customer an email with the current position of their container two times per day until the move is scheduled to be completed.”

The company plans on launching the new long-distance moving option at the beginning of May.

National jobs report shows upward trend in employment across the country

-Written by Erik Sargent

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One topic that always finds a way to stay relevant in the national landscape discussion is the job market around the United States of America, as people constantly look for new and improved work opportunities in their career.

At the end of each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor releases a monthly job report, which helps paint a picture of what the current job situation in the country looks like, focusing on employment increases and decreases, as well as job availability.

According to the report for the month of February, the areas of work that saw major employment gains were construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining. The unemployment rate for the month of February was also down from 4.9 percent in February of 2016, showing a slight change to 4.7 percent for this year.

The report also showed that the average hourly earnings for all employees in private nonfarm payrolls increased by six cents to $26.09, following a five cent increase in the month of January.

“It looks like month over month, all major industries have gone up in terms of job postings,” said Emily Underwood, Senior Account Manager at the employment search engine Indeed.com. “A huge increase has been in hospitality from February last year to February to this year, as those jobs continue to grow. With jobs like information technology, it’s still a very, very hot market and much needed market, but it looks like there has been a slight decrease in job postings.”

Indeed presents data tracking the number of job postings on their site, as well as areas where the job postings are available.

Along with the major increase in hospitality jobs, there was a major increase in jobs in the media, real estate, and retail industries. Education saw a -13 percent decrease in job availability from this time last year, and healthcare also saw a major drop.

In terms of the markets where jobs are hot, Indeed tracks how many jobs are posted per 1,000 people in the area. San Jose (CA) took the top spot with 63 postings per 1,000 people, with Salt Lake City (UT), Denver (CO), Raleigh (NC), and Indianapolis (IN) rounding out the top five.

“This is basically telling us that there are four jobs available per person in a city like Salt Lake City,” Underwood said. “It shows here that the unemployed person has jobs to choose from, and it looks like this is more of a job seekers market vs. an employer market. Down at the bottom of the list, for example, Las Vegas (NV) is 49th – it’s a one-to-one ratio. It’s a little bit more competitive for the job seeker.”

One job market that is currently trending upward is the moving industry, and a company that is looking to hire is the international moving company TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. The franchising company kicked off their Career Move Month campaign at the beginning of March, an initiative to recruit more people to their growing system.

“Our goal with Career Move Month is to ramp up for our busy season by hiring at least 1,200 new team members across the country,” said Human Resources Director Sara Bennett. “We have part-time and seasonal positions available, but there is also plenty of opportunity for full-time and long-term roles in the company.”

The movement is focused on showing that while moving is the core of the industry, there is a wide-range of opportunities within the system.

“Career Move Month is an exciting time of year for us because it gives us a chance to showcase the opportunities that exist at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® across the country,” said Bennett. “Many people don’t realize the variety of specialized roles that are available in our system. We of course have openings for movers and drivers, but there are also opportunities for positions in marketing, management, logistics, accounting, human resources, IT, and more.”

The national job report showed that professional and business services have continued trending upward, adding 597,000 jobs for the year. Industries like wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government all showed little or no change over the last month.

The next job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled for April 7, 2017.

How brand products make their way into movies

-Written by Erik Sargent

Lighting of filmset near Chinatown in New York City
New York City, United States – March 3, 2016: Cinema lights illuminate a film set in a small street near China town

At the start of each year, the world’s biggest movie stars gather in Hollywood for one night to recognize all of the achievements in the movie industry over the past year, and to award those who have created excellence in film. Continue reading “How brand products make their way into movies”

Housing Hot Spots of America For 2017

Married Couple on Moving Day

-Written by Erik Sargent

The housing market is an ever-changing world, and fluctuations occur often of where people are moving to and away from across the country.

2017 is no different, and several southern regions of the country are expected to see a major boost in population due to a variety of factors.

According to Trulia.com, the city expected to see the biggest amount of growth heading into the New Year is Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is one of five cities featured on the top 10 projection list from Trulia, with the cities being picked based on job growth over the past year, low vacancy rates, high affordability, and more inbound home searches than outbound searches. Continue reading “Housing Hot Spots of America For 2017”

Sinkhole Damages Plague Fraser Homes

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-Written by Erik Sargent

Misfortune struck on Christmas Eve in the Michigan town of Fraser and the effects are still being felt, and will continue for months.

A broken sewer line’s failure caused the soil and sand in the area to wash away, creating a sinkhole that spanned roughly 250 feet long and 100 feet wide on 15 Mile Road in Macomb County. Many people in the area of the sinkhole faced flooding in their basement, and a few houses were condemned due to structural failures, with people being forced to evacuate immediately.

Continue reading “Sinkhole Damages Plague Fraser Homes”