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24/7 Software Blog

“Virtual reality — long touted as the next big thing in tech — hasn't taken off as a consumer product, but employers are embracing it as a more efficient and effective tool for on-the-job training,” writes Yuki Noguchi in their recent NPR article entitled “Virtual Reality Goes To Work, Helping Train Employees.”

According to Noguchi, “This year, Walmart is training more than 1 million employees using virtual reality. And moving companies, airlines, food processing and financial firms are all using VR in different ways. In the virtual world, cashiers are taught to show greater empathy, mechanics learn to repair planes and retail workers experience how to deal with armed robbery.”

“The sensory immersion is key to its effectiveness. Because things look and sound as if they were real, the brain processes virtual reality as though it were a real experience, says Stanford communication professor Jeremy Bailenson, who also founded the school's Virtual Human Interaction Lab,” the article explains.

"People learn by doing ... getting feedback on mistakes, and then repeating and iterating," Bailenson says in the NPR piece.

Noguchi shares, “Not every workplace situation is conducive to virtual reality training. Some tactile skills, for example, are better experienced in real life. But the technology is especially useful for training people for novel or emergency situations.”

This statement resonated with us.

We’re not pushing VR as your next medium for training.

Although it might work, we’re still advocates of life environment training and tabletop exercises that help you get the closest you can to the real experience – safely.

It also gives you the hands-on practice with your operations management software.

Keep reading; we’re sharing the benefits in this article, especially when it comes to improving performance.

“Call it a sign of the times,” writes Andrea Hsu in their recent NPR article entitled “How Big Oil Of The Past Helped Launch The Solar Industry Of Today.”

According to Hsu, “Renewable energy has gotten so cheap that even oil giant Exxon Mobil, which reported $20.8 billion in earnings in 2018, is getting in on the savings.”

“Over the next couple of years, Exxon Mobil will begin purchasing wind and solar power in West Texas, part of a 12-year agreement signed late last year with the Danish energy company Orsted. The plan is to use cheap, clean electricity to power Exxon Mobil's expanding operations in the Permian Basin, one of the world's most productive oil fields,” explains Hsu.

“It's not the first time economic considerations have led the company to explore the possibilities of solar,” Hsu continues.

According to the NPR article, “Half a century ago — before climate change was a topic of much discussion and before Exxon was accused of deceiving shareholders and the public by downplaying the risks of climate change, prompting investigations and lawsuits — the company then known as Jersey Standard funded groundbreaking research into solar photovoltaic technology, which converts sunlight into electricity.”

“Other oil companies would follow. While the amounts spent by these big firms were tiny compared with their vast resources, these early, critical investments in solar technology laid a foundation for what is now a growing, multibillion-dollar industry,” the article continues.

That’s an industry evolution we can relate to in 2019.

Since 2007, we’ve seen the ever-changing property operations environment go from reactive to proactive.

It’s thrilling to see the progression of operations through industry-wide improvements and changes related to strategy, infrastructure, and technology.

We noticed this – and then had our epiphany.

Here’s the story that started the Proactive Operations movement.

“Twitter permanently suspended thousands of accounts in its ongoing effort to fight the spread of disinformation and political discord on its platform, the company announced Friday,” writes Peter Talbot in their recent NPR article.

“The accounts originated from six different countries. And they included the Twitter account used by Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to Saudi Arabia's crown prince and suspected of being involved in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” Talbot explains.

According to the piece, “It's all a part of Twitter's seemingly endless task of fighting disinformation.”

“The Twitter accounts came from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Ecuador, and China, according to Twitter's blog post. Groups of suspended accounts were involved in various information campaigns, using tactics like spreading content through fake accounts and spamming through retweets,” writes Talbot.

“The accounts were suspended for violating Twitter's policy on platform manipulation, which Twitter defines as large-scale aggressive or deceptive activity that misleads or disrupts people's social media activity,” Talbot continues.

Your property operation was the first thing we thought of after reading this article.

What, if anything, could be manipulating your property?

Do you know?

The scary part about this question is you might not even know what’s affecting it.

There could be a chronic issue you’re facing.

In your mind, it’s an issue that is controllable, but you just haven’t got a handle on it yet.

What if the bad news is you’ll never get a handle on this issue because you really don’t have control of it?

Someone, something, or a group is in control of this issue that’s costing you money.

We’ve got to crack down on this.

Keep reading; we’ll show you how.

“My search for the secrets of American ketchup began in a sun-baked field near Los Banos, Calif,” writes Dan Charles in their recent NPR article entitled “Meet The Man Who Guards America's Ketchup.

“The field didn't look like much at first. Just a wide, pale-green carpet of vines. Then Ross Siragusa, the head of global agriculture for the company Kraft Heinz, bent over, lifted up some of the vines, and revealed a mass of small, red fruit, too many to count,” shares Charles.

According to Charles, “Each acre of this field, Siragusa tells me, will produce about 60 tons of tomatoes. That's up from about 40 tons per acre just 15 years ago. The tomatoes themselves are a mix of tomato varieties that are specially bred to produce red, thick ketchup.”

“A mechanical harvester approaches at the pace of a brisk walk. It's a giant machine, a factory on wheels. It collects a swath of tomato plants, shakes fruit loose from the vines, and sends a stream of bright red tomatoes into a big truck driving alongside. The scale and speed of the operation boggles the mind,” the NPR piece continues.

Charles explains, “Within a day, a processing plant in Los Banos will turn these tomatoes into paste. Weeks or even months later, the paste will become the central ingredient in ketchup.”

“Nothing in this scene, from the tomato varieties to the mechanical harvester, existed when the Heinz company created the classic version of American ketchup many decades ago,” Charles continues.

“And I wonder, has ketchup's taste changed, too?” asks Charles.

According to the article, “Siragusa says that he doesn't know. But he knows somebody who would. A man named Hector Osorno. They call him the ketchup master, which is actually a formal title at Kraft Heinz.

"He's completely obsessed [with ketchup]. He's got secrets that he won't divulge," Siragusa tells Charles in the article.

“A few hours later, I meet Osorno. He's smiling the way people do when they're hiding delightful secrets,” shares Charles.

"What makes you a ketchup master? Is it your skill? Your knowledge?" Charles asks Osorno.

Osorno tells Charles in the article, “I like to think that it is my skill. But it's probably my stubbornness more than anything else. I'm obsessive to do the right thing the first time."

“AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and nine other telecommunications companies teamed up with attorneys general of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to announce a new pact to eradicate a common scourge in America: illegal robocalls,” writes Brakkton Booker in their recent NPR article entitled “Phone Companies Ink Deal With All 50 States And D.C. To Combat Robocalls.”

According to Booker’s article, “The agreement, which amounts to a set of anti-robocall principles, is aimed at combating and preventing the phone-ringing annoyance. Included in the deal is call-blocking technology that will be integrated into a dozen phone networks' existing infrastructure, at no additional charge to customers.”

“The tech giants will also provide other call blocking and call labeling for those customers who want more screening tools,” shares Booker.

"We owe it to the most vulnerable in our communities to do everything in our power to protect them. Thanks to these prevention principles, our phones will ring less often," North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said at an announcement in Washington on Thursday, according to the NPR piece.

The article continues, “Stein and other attorneys general who spoke at the press conference said that while robocalls regularly present hassles and interruptions for millions of Americans, in some instances, the calls can also be harmful.”

"Robocalls are also a very effective device for illegal conduct," said New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, according to Booker’s article.

We believe it.

Well, that’s also because we experience it.

How many robocalls do you get a day?

The fact that you receive any is unacceptable.

Agree?

They’re a common scourge.

But the US government is introducing a set of anti-robocall principles to combat this annoyance.

It’s like the reactive operations annoyance you might have plaguing your operation.

Most operations are reactive.

But you don’t have to be.

You can employ Proactive Operations.

And specifically, by using a proven Principle to help your jump-start this initiative.

We call it the ACDA Principle™ (pronounced act-duh), and it’s your starting point for combating a reactive operation.

“Something is strange with the economy,” writes Greg Rosalsky in their recent NPR article entitled “Is Our Economy In The Upside Down?

“Normally, in good times, the government seeks to balance its books a bit, borrowing less, paying off some debt or — gasp — maybe even aiming for a budget surplus. And right now, on some important measures, economic times are good. But the government has been increasing spending and cutting taxes — and the budget deficit is projected to grow to nearly $1 trillion, an increase of over 35% since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in 2017. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve would normally be raising interest rates to make sure the price of everything doesn't get out of control. But high inflation is nowhere to be seen, and the Fed is now cutting interest rates,” explains Rosalsky.

According to the NPR article, “We're living in the Upside Down. You know, like that shadowy land in Stranger Things, where the laws of physics don't apply and monsters might eat you. It's an alternate dimension where economic textbooks are being thrown out the window. A scary place where despite big deficits and easy money, the economy is slowing down to a rate below historical averages and wage growth remains disappointing. And it's a place where frightening monsters, or demogorgons, continue to scare away investment and productivity. Slaying these monsters is the key to growth and prosperity, but we seem to be stuck in this new world where investment and productivity will not come roaring back.”

“Can we escape?” asks Rosalsky.

“Could you escape?” was our first question following the one above.

We don’t know how your operation is doing.

But we’re always concerned whether you’re running a reactive operation – one that’s in The Upside Down.

Call them what you want.

Your frightening monsters and Demogorgon lurk in unique ways to your properties.

Lack of awareness, poor communication, illegible handwritten documentation, and zero ability to analyze your operation’s effectiveness are good examples of the monsters we’ve seen.

Sound familiar?

Keep reading; we’re going to show you how Proactive Operations can help you move right side up.