HP’s New Technology to change how Identification Cards are printed

Aside from employee identification cards, companies face the challenge of printing hundreds of thousands of visitor badges or guest cards. In many instances, large amounts of paper, plastics and ink are wasted on the plastic card printer. HP Labs has recognized the challenge by introducing a new hybrid printing technology that will change the distribution of employee ID’s, visitors passes, gate passes and temporary passes.

In order to enhance of efficiency of plastic card printing, HP developed a technology called IonTouch which is a cross between the traditional plastic card printer and e-ink technology. Information on the plastic identification cards can be rewritten so that they can be reused by other individuals after card expiration instead of being thrown away to the landfills.

HP’s proprietary technology replaces the traditional ID card printer with the IonTouch Imager that has the capability to write and re-write on a 2.5 inch 300 x 300 pixel display for up to 10,000 times. The surface of the display has the capability for either black or white content or 16 levels of grayscale. The technology is not yet that advanced for color but sufficient enough since most of the HP printer’s use involves employee badges, visitor passes and hotel guest cards.

When the IonTouch system is used, the visitor’s pass can be printed on the spot with his name and contact information including a photo and other additional details like the time of appointment and the name of the person that will be visited. Compared to e-ink and digital displays that costs about $50 per card, HP rewritable display will cost the company a few cents.

Another benefit gained from the HP rewritable display is the lack of power draw to hold rewritable content. When special marks and codes are required on the plastic cards for security reasons and to avoid duplication, you only need to switch to non-permanent ink. Since the plastic identification cards are reusable, it reduces plastic waste disposed on the landfills.

Since the only way with which information can be changed is through the IonTouch Imager, another layer of protection is added to the cards making them very secure. HP technology is very important for businesses that make use of plastic identification cards.


Warning To Consumers Raised Against Extra Mile Movers

The removalist company under fire is based in Sydney and is claiming to offer their clients with a five star service. The NSW Fair Trading recently announced a warning to the general public against the company because it has already received around 70 complaints and one of their clients is said to be suffering major damages amounting to $30,000.

The warning was issued by Fair Trading and it tells consumers not to transact with Extra Mile Movers which is a removalist company that services locally and interstates. They are based in the southwestern part of Sydney in Chipping Norton.

According to Rod Stowe, the commissioner of Fair Trading, they have received many complaints regarding company Extra Mile Movers. Consumers said that their services are slow or partial and there are cases where they do not deliver the service expected of them which is unlike reputable removalists in Sydney. There are also clients who complained regarding damages to their property and some belongings that were lost during the moving process. The company demands to be paid more than the agreed amount and does not follow the price as stated on the contract.

Stowe added that despite the complaints coming from the clients, the company did not perform any countermeasures to compensate for the problem they have caused which is why they decided to refer the issue to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Last December, the watchdog of the consumer was able to gather 12 complaints directed to the company Extra Mile Movers thus they were included in the Complaints Register of the Fair Trading for that particular month.

Maria shared her experience with the company in June of 2016. There were damages inflicted to her household items amounting to $30,000 but up to this time the company was not able to send her any form of compensation.

Maria said that she did not expect removalists in Sydney to behave in such manner but she was appalled by the way Extra Mile Movers handled her property without care or any type of consideration.


Work Store Units Being Snapped Up For Man-Caves

Industrial property developers in Brisbane are manning up in a big way with the city’s industrial hubs experiencing a construction boom. There is increased demand from average individuals who want an affordable space instead of garages and backyard sheds.

According to CBRE industrial specialists Nick Witheriff and Dan Munnich, more than 200 “man-caves” and work store units are currently under construction with more planned for other sites. Developments are registering significant pre-sales off-the-plan with at least 70% of the buyers planning to be the owners/occupiers.

Off-the-plan is the fastest growing industrial trend that the market has seen. There was no such demand in the previous years that is why it is surprising to see this trend. According to Mr. Witheriff, the work store units are immediately bought to be transformed into man-caves, for alternative home offices, for storage space and for fund investments by the average moms and dads and small business operators.

Previously, there has been no entry level industrial that is below $500,000 but with the entry level industrial being sub $300,000 with a low interest rate environment, the work store units were easily snapped up.

Work store developments have emerged in Brisbane for the past 12 to 18 months and it expected that the trend will gain further momentum towards the end of the year because of the increasing demand from owners/occupiers.

Northgate at the north of Brisbane, another burgeoning hub is expected to join the boom for man-caves with N62, a two-stage development at 62 Crockford St that will add another 32 work store units for investment purposes.

According to Mr. Munnich, right now, there are an equal number of inquiries from buyers of work store units and the number of developers that are looking at spaces to build them. This shows that a shift in market has taken place for this style of product.

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By Nikki Sanderson Posted in News

Spotless CEO Claims Bid Is Not A Prospect

Downer EDI’s massive takeover bid for Spotless shook headlines recently for a lot of reasons. One of them is how it would change the market for office cleaning in Melbourne, or anywhere in Australia. With AU$1.27 B worth of cash backing that bid, a lot of people took notice. Except the Spotless Group itself it seems.

At least, that’s what the chief executive of Spotless, Mr. Martin Sheppard, says. He recently claimed that the Spotless Group is currently focused on playing to their strategy. Mr. Sheppard states that Spotless has secured extensions to some notable contracts in the health industry. Included in this list is a four-year extension to a partnership with hospital operator Healthscope, involving linen and laundry all over the country.

The executive claims that the Spotless group is the representation of a massive amount of combined contract revenues from across the country over a time span of five years amounting to around $210 M. With additional contracts this year, that value spikes to an impressive $300M.

Spotless is currently under contract to the Alfred Hospital and Healthscope. For the former, it acts as provider for several key aspects of the hospital; cleaning, food, security, grounds and garden maintenance, among other things. For the latter, it’s contracted for linen rental and laundry service provider for 31 Healthscope hospitals across the country.

The bid from Downer EDI, representing an interest of $1.15/share was made more than a week past, but Spotless has been under pressure from investors seeking to accept the deal, though the offer included an equity raising that wasn’t really met with positive reception.

According to Mr. Sheppard, the Spotless executives need time to consider the offer.

He states that the company had recently mobilized staff to Queensland to assist people that have been affect by the recent rough weather and floods of Cyclone Debbie. He adds that the company had been securing its site and taking care of their customers. And that the company have been looking over their shoulder with the bid.

Spotless provides a wide range of services, from office cleaning in Melbourne, to catering in Sydney, among other things.


Businesses In Alabama Oppose Controversial Bathroom Bill

Alabama’s version of the controversial bathroom bill that plunged North Carolina into a political chaos has raised concerns from businesses and economic development organizations. The controversial bill that is called “Alabama Privacy Act” regulates access to public restrooms inside businesses.

The bill that has been brought to the spotlight has created unique alliances; the left-leaning ACLU and the conservative Eagle Forum of Alabama that are usually at odds with each other both oppose the bill. If access to public restrooms will be regulated, it will create a severe economic blow to the State of Alabama.

On the other hand, State Senator Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City who is sponsoring the bill in undeterred because he believes that there is a lot of misinformation circulating and hand-wringing that is unnecessary. He believes that there is nothing about his bill that will severely affect commerce; instead it would create three types of bathrooms:

  • A restroom, bathroom or changing facility designed for the use of one person at a time
  • A restroom, bathroom or changing facility designed for multiple individuals of the same gender
  • A restroom, bathroom or changing facility designed for multiple individuals at once irrespective of gender.

On the third type of restroom, an attendant is required to monitor appropriate use and answer concerns of users. According to Williams, businesses in Alabama will not be affected by the bill except Target that has policies concerning transgender customers that must use bathrooms designated for their gender identity.

The bill respects the privacy and security of the citizens of Alabama. Williams denies that his bill is similar to the North Carolina legislation that was the subject of boycott from professional sports leagues and entertainers. Businesses have suffered from a collective loss of $630 million due to the bill. In Alabama, businesses do not want to travel the same path as those in North Carolina.

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By Nikki Sanderson Posted in News

Australian Economic Recovery From Non-Mining Investments

In Melbourne and Sydney, it is expected that growth in business spending for the year ahead will bring improvements to employment and wages. At last, non-mining business investments are gathering pace.

The first improvement in the last 12 quarters was particularly evident with the 1.6% increase in total business investments in the December quarter. However, the level of $52.4 billion only represents 12.2% of the GDP which until the June quarter was at its lowest level in the past 11 years.

Investments have fallen because of the absence of large resource projects to replace those that have been commissioned during the boom. The projects have been completed and about to enter production. Non-mining investment was insufficient to offset the fall in the resources sector. However, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has surprised a lot of people when he said that further pick-up is expected from the non-mining business investments.

While Lowe did not particularly identify the improvements, he has remarked that investment outlook remains subdued. Minutes later, it was clarified that the Reserve Bank is seeing improved investments in NSW and Victoria. Improved investment was encouraged by the increasing number of approvals for non-residential building constructions that will contribute to GDP growth once the projects start.

According to Lowe, a better business environment is being created with the improvements in global economy, lower interest rates and cumulative exchange rate depreciation. Utilization for many firms have risen because of non-mining investments has been comparatively weak. Businesses have to start making investments to expand production because the population is growing.

Reports for non-residential building approvals are consistent with the improving outlook. While the picture is not actually uniform, since there are few hotel and warehouse projects, the level of proposed activity is 20% higher and is expected to generate more jobs for the next two years.

When business investment opportunities are improving, small businesses like carpet cleaner in Perth are more likely to experience growth and increased profitability. As businesses grow, demand for cleaning services is expected to increase. Offices and residences will expect a professional and quality service to ensure that their buildings are impressive and pleasant-looking.


Australian Companies Not Yet Prepared For Artificial Intelligence Technology

Based on a survey of Australian business leaders, it was found out that Australian companies are not yet prepared for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in spite of the huge spending on automation. The survey results that were released at the World Economic Forum revealed that major Australian businesses have invested an average of $7.9 million last year in artificial intelligence; second only to the United States but in terms of skills required for AI integration, Australia placed last.

According to Andrew Groth of Infosys Australia, the survey clearly shows that Australia risks being uncompetitive if companies lack the skills needed to capitalize on AI. The challenge being faced by Australia is skills situation which should be addressed because businesses are competing on the global stage.

The survey found out that 23% of Australian business leaders believe that their companies lack the skills to capitalize on AI technology. According to Groth, artificial intelligence technology requires proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Digital proficiencies, creativity, problem solving and ongoing learning also need improvements.

The survey findings on the lack of skills is relevant to the results of another survey which reveals that Australian business leaders are probably planning to make workers redundant instead of reassigning those whose jobs will become obsolete because of AI. Two-thirds of the business leaders surveyed said they have plans and they have replaced jobs with AI while one-third said that the affected workers will be made redundant.

Groth cited the example of Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth that invested in an automated pharmaceutical ordering system that makes use of robots with scans for the movement and storage of $200,000 worth of drugs daily. Human workers used to be assigned for this task. Because of AI technology, stock availability outages were reduced by 70% and nurses had more time to spend on patient care instead of administration of stock.

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