What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The internet landscape is growing at an exponential rate. It’s no longer just about computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones – the Internet of Things (IoT). It almost seems like there’s a new device coming out every day! Washing machines, robotic vacuum cleaners, door locks, toys and even toasters are labeled “smart” because they are internet connected. This was a future we were promised in science fiction stories not that long ago, but now it’s turning up everywhere we look, and consumers are itching to own a piece of that promise.  As a result, we now have a new umbrella term added to our vocabulary, the “Internet of Things.”

The Internet of Things (IoT), in its most basic form, is everyday devices that are able to be connected to each other and the internet. These everyday objects, such as smart watches, CCTV cameras or even traffic lights, are able to communicate with each other and to the applications that allow you to configure them. Just as you can use an app on your phone to setup your wifi-enabled air conditioner, a wearable device can alert health care professionals when a patient is in need of critical attention.

Not all devices are created equally when it comes to security.

Automating our life at home and at work naturally reduces human labour and as we move more and more towards smart cars, smart homes and wearable devices, we gather more and more objects that are considered part of IoT.

This has both pros and cons, some of which may seem fairly obvious to many.  As with anything relating to the internet, users are wise to do their best to understand the risks involved with using the technologies they bring into their lives. With understanding, they are better-equipped to implement security measures that protect their private information and thus make using these convenient devices work to their advantage.

Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to cyber attacks. This is particularly true of IoT devices for one very simple reason. Not all IoT devices have security settings that can be easily configured. Because of this, plug-and-play type devices should be carefully researched before they are connected to the internet.

As exciting new gadgets make our homes smarter, they’re also making them more vulnerable.

With the rush of the IoT craze in the consumer market, many manufacturers are working to get their products to market as quickly as possible, thus security can be overlooked at the point of design and release to the public. However, you have probably paid close attention to your PC passwords and are running an antivirus software plus being careful when browsing online. Now think about this. Hackers know that the general population operates the same way, therefore they have moved to hacking routers instead of computer systems.

This is where the home router plays a very important role. The router is essentially the entry point of the internet into your home  or business. While not all connected devices can be protected by themselves, the router has the ability to provide protection at the entry point. Although today’s typical router does provide some additional security (i.e., password protection, firewalls, and the ability to configure them to only allow certain devices on your network), they do not come with installed security software. This makes it possible for malware to sneak through. With the popularity of IoT devices, and the high vulnerabilities they carry, attackers are already focusing on ways to exploit them.  So it’s certainly an area to consider when implementing security measures within your home and workplace.

When it comes to the Internet of Things, there are so many benefits that could improve the way we work and make our home lives easier. But keep in mind that whatever is connected to the internet is available to anyone who knows how to take it. Therefore, it’s wise to do your research before you connect a product to the internet, learn how to configure any security settings and consider how much access a device really needs to your personal information.

We live in an exciting time for technology. There’s no reason to shy away from taking full advantage of efficiency, we just need to do so with some considered security measures.

Mobility and Productivity

Mobility and Productivity

The “Office” feature for the Samsung Focus 2 mobile phone is an excellent opportunity to turn your device into a productivity center. This application allows you to create different types of documents directly from a device. Create text-based documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more! Think of the “Office” feature as a mobile version of Microsoft’s own Office productivity suite.

Getting Started:

Step 1

Open the “Office” software on your Samsung Focus 2 mobile phone by first opening the “Apps” window on your device’s screen. Next, tap the yellow icon labeled “Office.” A display with options pertaining to the types of documents you can open or create will fill the screen.

Step 2

To open a file, begin by swiping your finger to the left across the screen and open the “Locations” window. If the document is saved on your phone, tap the option labeled “Phone.” Choose the file name of the document that you want to open. If you don’t know the name but do know keywords in the document, tap the word “Search” to perform a basic search. You can also use the “Office 365” and “SharePoint” features to access shared documents that you have worked on using other devices.

Step 3

To create a document, swipe your finger across the right of the screen to reveal a list of various document types. Tap “Explore OneNote” to begin composing a new virtual notebook and “Explore Excel” to begin creating a new spreadsheet. Choose “Explore Word” to create a new text document using Microsoft Word. Select “Explore PowerPoint” to begin creating a new multimedia presentation.

Step 4

Use the toolbars to create and formate new documents. Toolbar buttons will vary depending on the type of document you’re creating. The mobile versions of the Microsoft productivity programs are very similar in design to the full desktop versions. The only major difference is that all features have been reorganized to take advantage of a smaller touch screen. Text is entered into all programs using the virtual keyboard, similar to the way you compose an SMS text message or e-mail on your phone.

Step 5

When you’re finished creating your document, tap the “Save” option from the toolbar to save your progress. You can also tap “Share” to share the document using e-mail, Facebook and other types of online services.

5 Ways for Healthcare Providers to Streamline Their Communications System

5 Ways for Healthcare Providers to Streamline Their Communications System

In the healthcare industry communication and IT infrastructure lies at the heart of operational effectiveness. Alerting staff for emergencies or simply making sure that the right people are given the information they need to manage caseloads is a daily challenge. Communication disruptions or breaks in the alert chain can have disastrous consequences. A multi-spectrum communication system is essential, with multiple methods of communication to ensure that the message will get through. However, this can present a logistical nightmare for any organization to manage. A healthcare provider needs to somehow integrate this electronic hydra into a seamlessly connected alert system. While this is easier said than done, here are five steps can take an organization in the right direction.

1. Catalogue All Communication Methods

The communication tools at the disposal of modern healthcare providers have served to increase the possible lines of communication and made their management a much larger challenge. The web of email, pagers, smart phones, radios, and communication apps has given healthcare managers headaches for years. A good starting point in tightening up the alert system is to make sure that all these avenues of communications are taken into account.

2. Look For The Gaps In Communication

If there have been deficiencies in communication in the past, sometimes the best way to solve the problem is to do a virtual autopsy. With so many possible ways to reach your personnel when they are needed, what was it, exactly, that went wrong? It could be as simple as a physician being away from his phone on his personal time or a paramedic parking in a cell phone dead-zone during lunch. Sometimes finding these gaps can lead to procedural changes that act as a roadmap for future contingencies.

3. Combine Unnecessary Redundancies

Redundancy is a necessary component of any communications system. Much like any system, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Since Murphy’s Law never takes a vacation, a facility can tend to feel more secure by piling on additional back-ups to systems that have the potential for failure. However, a communications manager should evaluate how effective a redundant communication method will be to the overall communications plan. If these methods can be combined or replaced with a more effective method, take that plunge.

4. Build A Communications Hub

Whether it is an actual communication center in your facility or a virtual hub online or in the cloud, you need a place where all of your communication methods can be accessed directly. At a moment of crisis, there needs to be a place where the cooler heads can gather to resolve the problem. This centralization of communication will go a long way toward cutting down on human error in the alert process.

5. Choose An Effective Mobile Management Tool

Mobile communications, to include SMS and text messages, have become a cornerstone of the communication plan for healthcare providers. A comprehensive mobile communications tool that is customized to the particular needs of the healthcare industry, to include such unique considerations as HIPPA compliance, is essential to communications in the industry. Mobile management and targeted alerts can bring communications systems into the 21st century and provide a sleek, streamlined method of communication with every component of the healthcare facility.

Trust the Experts

Trust the Experts

I had the opportunity to zip line recently and realized how important it is to trust the experts. The zip line trainer was serious yet she reminded us to have fun. She new the potential danger of not staying connected the entire time we are up in the trees and was the subject matter expert in safety for the sport.

We ask new clients to trust us every day with their projects, data, business processes and we know the seriousness of having the best experts and tools to execute the desired outcomes. It takes a high level of trust knowing you have the right people helping you complete the zip line course. Similarly, you need the right development team with expert knowledge and proven methodologies to ensure your project is successful.

NCN SharePoint, Mobile and web development Subject matter experts create requirement documents with business objectives ALWAYS in mind. We architect, develop and test while using the agile methodologies to ensure client projects are safely delivered. For zip lining, the process of hooking up varied depending on the effort, such as climbing a ladder, zipping thousands of feet down into the dirt, or jumping from a Tarzan swing into a net. But the methodology was the same: always stay connected! NCN processes vary based on projects; but agile development methodologies and hand picked tools are the same; chosen to ensure the safety of each project.

We know and respect the seriousness of jumping off the platform with NCN to develop your project. This is the reason our experts and processes follow agile application development methodologies to lower risk and deliver successful projects. Let’s go!!