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Smart, connected products: Manufacturing’s next transformation

November 25, 2014 Comments off

Smart, connected products: Manufacturing’s next transformation
Source: Oxford Economics

Smart, connected products—the “Things” in the Internet of Things—are expected to power the next wave of manufacturing. However businesses must rethink their products, services, and processes, and most gains anticipated remain up for grabs.

​To better understand how manufacturers are navigating the opportunities and challenges surrounding smart, connected products (SCPs), Oxford Economics and PTC surveyed 300 manufacturing executives around the world. Only firms with strategies to develop these products were considered. The survey, along with a series of interviews with industry leaders, shows that the SCP revolution is well under way but remains in its early stages.

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AU — Online shopping and potential changes to the low value threshold: costs and benefits for government, consumers and retailers

November 25, 2014 Comments off

Online shopping and potential changes to the low value threshold: costs and benefits for government, consumers and retailers
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

Australians spent $15.7 billion in the year to August 2014 buying online from both international and Australian retailers. Online shopping by Australians has increased over time, and is likely to continue doing so. A significant portion of Australian purchases online are from Australian retailers.

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014

November 24, 2014 Comments off

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014
Source: OECD

The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2014 reviews key trends in science, technology and innovation (STI) policies, and performance in more than 45 economies, including OECD countries and major emerging economies. The report draws on the latest OECD work on science and innovation policy analysis and measurement.

Following an overview of the STI global landscape and policy trends, key policy issues are discussed across a series of thematic policy profiles. The third section examines individual STI country performances, along with the most recent national policy developments. These global and national policy trends are monitored by a unique international policy survey conducted by the OECD every two years.

Innovative Industries That Have Thrived in a Sluggish Economy

November 21, 2014 Comments off

Innovative Industries That Have Thrived in a Sluggish Economy
Source: IBISWorld

The Great Recession crippled the US and Canadian economies, both of which have started to recover, albeit slowly, over the past five years. Nevertheless, several industries have boomed over the period, surpassing US GDP and Canadian GDP, which are expected to grow at annualized rates of 2.8% and 2.2%, respectively, over the five years to 2019. In particular, some niche markets in the healthcare, technology and power sectors are anticipated to thrive. Using its database of more than 1,200 US reports and 350 Canadian reports, IBISWorld has narrowed down several industries that have been characterized by strong revenue growth over the five years to 2014. The advent of new technologies is expected to further bolster performance over the next five years.

The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

November 21, 2014 Comments off

The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry
Source: Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United

With more than 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country. It is also the single-largest source of sexual-harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Women occupy most of the financially precarious restaurant jobs; more than 70% of servers are women, and more than 60% of all tipped occupations are filled by women.

Due to the two-tiered wage system that allows restaurant employers to pay as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991) to tipped workers, and the overwhelming lack of enforcement and compliance ensuring that employers pay workers the full minimum wage when tips fall short, women in tipped occupations often make a living entirely off tips. Absent a stable base wage from their employers, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours. However, a majority of all restaurant workers report experiencing sexual harassment.

By looking at the rate and types of sexual harassment experienced by current and former restaurant workers through national surveys and rigorous analysis, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Forward Together provide the most accurate picture to date of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry.

New From the GAO

November 20, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier: Congress Should Consider Revising Cost Cap Legislation to Include All Construction Costs. GAO-15-22, November 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-22
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667091.pdf

2. Climate Change: Better Management of Exposure to Potential Future Losses Is Needed for Federal Flood and Crop Insurance. GAO-15-28, October 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-28
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666697.pdf

3. Financial Stability Oversight Council: Further Actions Could Improve the Nonbank Designation Process. GAO-15-51, November 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-51
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667095.pdf

4. Bank Capital Reforms: Initial Effects of Basel III on Capital, Credit, and International Competitiveness. GAO-15-67, November 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-67
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667113.pdf

5. Small Business Innovation Research: Change in Program Eligibility Has Had Little Impact. GAO-15-68, November 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-68
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667099.pdf

6. Building Partner Capacity: State and DOD Need to Define Time Frames to Guide and Track Global Security Contingency Fund Projects. GAO-15-75, November 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-75
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667116.pdf

Energy Drinks

November 20, 2014 Comments off

Energy Drinks
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Bottom Line:

  • Although there’s very limited data that caffeine-containing energy drinks may temporarily improve alertness and physical endurance, evidence that they enhance strength or power is lacking. More important, they can be dangerous because large amounts of caffeine may cause serious heart rhythm, blood flow, and blood pressure problems.
  • There’s not enough evidence to determine the effects of additives other than caffeine in energy drinks.
  • The amounts of caffeine in energy drinks vary widely, and the actual caffeine content may not be identified easily.
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