4 Cornerstone Skills Engineers Need for the Future of Work

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via Engineering.com: The job market has changed a lot in the past decade, and today it’s changing faster than ever. With the growing influence of the impending fourth industrial revolution, new disruptive technologies will continue to alter the employment landscape—especially for the engineers at the epicenter of this shift. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud-based and quantum computing, additive manufacturing and nanofabrication, advanced automation and robotics—these disruptive technologies are already impacting every industry. Although concerns about job loss due to automation are not without merit, these technologies are also poised to open up entire new fields of study and employment never before conceived. As many as seven million jobs across the US could disappear over the next decade, according to research by Nick Van Dam, global chief learning officer at McKinsey & Co. These positions will be replaced by significantly fewer jobs requiring more highly skilled workers. According to one technology funding organization surveyed in a Pew Internet report: “The jobs of the future will not need large numbers of workers with a fixed set of skills—most things that we can train large numbers of workers for, we will also be able to train computers to do better.” The already technical positions in engineering-related fields are both the most likely to see changes, and to continue requiring new candidates within existing and emerging fields. Many of the jobs in 2020 and beyond will be in fields and technologies that didn’t exist a decade ago as anything more than a spark in… Read more

The Benefits of Well-Designed Spaces in Today’s Public Workplace

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via Building Design Construction: In the past, obtaining — or being offered — one’s own office meant that a milestone had been reached. The individual in question had proven their worth, in a sense, or reached a professional level that meant a private office was a tangible marker of success. The most fortunate employees were able to work in a space with a window and, if they were lucky or well-established at the executive level, a pleasant view, which they could show off to clients, or simply appreciate while moving through day-to-day tasks and operations. To allow other staff the privilege of privacy — or to ensure that they remained productive and did not socialize too much — cubicles on the main office floor became a way to give each person his or her own separate space. Today, modern office design barely resembles this maze of panels from days past. With co-working spaces increasing in popularity and the open office being today’s trendy alternative, few employees have a dedicated desk. The ability to work anywhere in an office building and continually collaborate with coworkers means that a certain fluidity exists in the workplace. However, many companies require both public and private spaces to cater to all office needs including meetings, important calls, and areas for staff to relax and recharge. Additionally, the diffusion of natural light into the main office space is important for employee well-being and overall wellness — a focus that has factored into the design of contemporary spaces.… Read more

Graphene Propelled These 4 Power-Related Advances

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via Power Electronics: The superior properties of graphene continue to push research into its application across the power landscape. One issue holds it back from going mainstream, though. Graphene, the super-material that’s stronger than steel, lighter than air, and highly conductive, is poised to impact industry at a scale that hasn’t been seen since the Industrial Revolution. Since its inception in modern form (one atom thickness—Konstantin Novoselov/Andre Geim, circa 2004), the material has taken on a seemingly unlimited application potential in many areas, including electronics, biological engineering, composite materials/coatings, membranes/filters, and perhaps most notably, energy applications. When it comes to energy applications, scientists and engineers have utilized the material for everything from energy conversion to storage, including capacities and charge rates in new lithium-ion batteries. Graphene is also being applied to photovoltaic cells for highly efficient solar devices, as well as supercapacitors that are more powerful and efficient than what’s currently available. Of course, the wonder material is being adapted to Li-ion batteries to increase densities and performance, let alone improve catalysis for fuel cells to boost rates of reaction. In this roundup, we’ll look at four graphene-driven advances that made waves in the energy industry over the last few years. 1. Graphene Oxide Nanosheets Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) developed a solution that could bring lithium-metal batteries to the market: Graphene is used to prolong battery life and keep them from catching fire. Normal lithium-metal based batteries can hold up to 10X more charge over their… Read more

Amazon’s New Alexa Blueprints’Let Anyone Create Custom Alexa Skills And Responses

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via TechCrunch: Amazon this morning is introducing “Alexa Blueprints,” a new way for any Alexa owner to create their own customized Alexa skills or responses, without needing to know how to code. The idea is to allow Alexa owners to create their own voice apps, like a trivia game or bedtime stories, or teach Alexa to respond to questions with answers they design – like “Who’s the best mom in the world?,” for example. You could also create a skill that includes helpful information for the babysitter, which could be triggered by the command, “Alexa, open My Sitter,” Amazon suggests. “Alexa Skill Blueprints is an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalized skills just for you and your family,” explained Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa, in a statement about the launch. “You don’t need experience building skills or coding to get started—my family created our own jokes skill in a matter of minutes, and it’s been a blast to interact with Alexa in a totally new and personal way.” To build your own skill or custom Alexa response, users will visit the website blueprints.amazon.com and select a template. At launch, there are over 20 templates across categories like Fun & Games, At Home, Storyteller, and Learning & Knowledge. The templates are designed so you can just fill in the bits and pieces that make them personalized to your needs. You won’t need to go through a series of complicated steps, and no technical knowledge is required. The templates… Read more

Reinventing The Wheel: Why Smart Tyres Give the IoT Real Grip

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via internet of business: The race is on to develop smart tyres that rely on IoT connectivity to deliver greater safety, increased fuel efficiency, and longer tyre life, as Jessica Twentyman reports. A worn or under-inflated tyre on a moving vehicle is a hazard. In 2016, tyre-related incidents on British roads led to eight fatalities and 120 serious injuries, according to Highways England, the government-owned company in charge of maintaining and improving the country’s motorways and A-roads. Government figures also suggest that one in 12 tyres on heavy goods vehicles is dangerously under-inflated, with the number standing at one in eight for cars. As Stuart Lovatt, Highways England’s road safety lead, observed at the close of last year’s Tyre Safety Month held each October, “This can lead to everything from frustrating congestion caused by breakdowns to catastrophic collisions and tragic loss of life.” In short, tyres need to get smarter – but the good news is that there is a great deal of work underway in this area. Big-name tyre manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, and Continental are all experimenting with IoT-connected sensors and software platforms to measure and monitor tyre performance. In late March, for example, Continental announced the launch of ContiConnect, a new digital tyre monitoring platform for commercial fleets. For now, it’s only available to fleet operators in the US, Canada, Malaysia, and Thailand, but the company has said it will introduce it elsewhere in Europe and Asia later this year and into 2019. Sensors, readers and… Read more

6 Surprising Ways Driverless Cars Will Change Our World

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via Mach: Despite the recent pair of fatal crashes involving self-driving cars, there’s wide agreement that autonomous vehicles will sharply reduce the number of people who die in motor vehicle accidents. In the U.S. alone, traffic accidents claim more than 30,000 lives a year; experts say that by the middle of this century, that toll could fall by up to 90 percent. Eventually, driverless cars will take human motorists out of the equation entirely. When that happens, fewer traffic fatalities will be only the most obvious consequence. Because automobiles are so central to our society and national economy — and so much a part of everyday life — the switch to autonomous vehicles is likely to alter our lives in strange and remarkable ways. “I think we’re going to be really surprised by how many things change,” says Dr. Chris Gerdes, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University. Here’s a peek at what a future filled with driverless cars could look like. 1. WE’LL BE LESS LIKELY TO OWN A CAR Driverless cars may not end America’s long-running love affair with the automobile. But with fleets of autonomous vehicles offering low-cost, convenient transportation that can be summoned in minutes, fewer people may want to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to own and maintain their own vehicle. “We’re moving to a future where people don’t own cars,” says Dr. Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. “You’ll have a… Read more

What is Sustainable Architecture: Definition, Concept and Famous Examples

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via LIFEGATE: What is the definition of sustainable architecture? The term is spreading in the construction industry but struggling to establish itself. Examples of projects that embrace sustainable materials and concepts. Sustainable architecture and environmental issues are now a part of the agenda for businesses, as well as local and international communities. And people can’t get enough of it. The word “sustainability” and the expression “sustainable architecture” are spreading in the world of design and architecture for two main reasons: functional and formal. Any object that is considered sustainable must show ecological awareness, therefore its functionality must be tied to its relationship with the environment through its appearance. What is the definition of sustainable building? Sustainable architecture designs and constructs buildings in order to limit their environmental impact, with the objectives of achieving energy efficiency, positive impacts on health, comfort and improved liveability for inhabitants; all of this can be achieved through the implementation of appropriate technologies within the building. Sustainable architecture means being able to satisfy consumers’ requests, taking the time and natural resources needed into consideration from the very early stages of the project, entering the context in the most natural way possible, planning ahead by making the space and materials employed completely reusable. Why is sustainable architecture so important? Designing sustainable architecture means taking a few fundamental elements into consideration: orientation, shading and sunlight crated by pre-existing elements, natural ventilation, as well as the use of biomass, Ambient Assisted Living or domotics and renewable energy systems, all created… Read more

Artificial Intelligence Promises Bright Future for Airlines and Passengers

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via CTV NEWS: MONTREAL — Canada’s two largest airlines say artificial intelligence can be a game-changer for aviation by helping to boost revenues, pare costs and provide passengers with a more personalized travel experience. Air Canada and WestJet are joining airlines around the world by spending undisclosed amounts of money on AI in an effort to harness technology that promises revolutionary advantages for both carriers and passengers. Several large airlines in the U.S. and Europe have deployed AI in chatbots that respond to common passenger questions, machine learning algorithms to help automate airline operations and facial recognition to verify identification for luggage and boarding. “It’s really an untouched area for the airline industry that we need to develop very fast,” new WestJet CEO Ed Sims said in an interview, adding he’d like to use the technology to create a “virtual concierge service” similar to Amazon Alexa or Google Home. The aviation sector’s investment in AI is expected to grow from US$152 million this year to US$2.22 billion by 2025, for a compounded annual growth rate of more than 46 per cent, according to a report from research firm Markets and Markets. New technologies like AI are essential as a doubling of global passengers over the next two decades strains air traffic control, airport and aircraft systems, according to data from the International Air Transport Association. Many of the benefits will occur behind the scenes in airline operations, but that is expected to trickle down to passengers through improved efficiency and cost… Read more

World’s Largest Wind Turbines (9.5 Megawatts) Headed To Northwester 2 Offshore Wind Farm

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via Clean Technica: MHI Vestas announced this week that it will provide its 9.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the 224 MW Northwester 2 offshore wind farm set to be developed in Belgian waters, making it the first time the record-setting 9.5 MW wind turbine will be installed and operational anywhere in the world. Formed in 2014 by Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, MHI Vestas is the world’s largest offshore wind-focused wind turbine manufacturer, and in June of last year it unveiled to the world its V164-9.5 MW wind turbine, the most powerful wind turbine currently available in the world. Measuring in with 80-meter long blades that have a swept area of 21,124 meters-squared, the turbine is bigger than the London Eye and a single turbine alone can power 8,300 average households. Of course, since June the offshore wind turbine arms race has continued apace, with both MHI Vestas and GE Renewable Energy making significant strides. Earlier this month MHI Vestas installed an 8.8 MW wind turbine at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre off the coast of North East Scotland, which is currently the world’s largest wind turbine in operation. However, in early March GE Renewable Energy unveiled its mammoth 12 MW Haliade-X offshore wind turbine, and just this week confirmed it would be heading to the UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult for advanced testing. Until the Haliade-X enters operation, however, and assuming no competitors have an ace up their sleeves, MHI Vestas will hold on to… Read more

Driving The Digital Revolution to Telecommunication

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via ET Telecom: The cab drivers in Mumbai routinely use augmented reality applications to get real time traffic updates on their smartphones. In Punjab, farmers know when to expect rain and are even warned of an approaching natural disaster through several advisory applications. A group of fisherman in the southern-most Indian state of Tamil Nadu, are routinely using their mobile phones to check the wind direction and location of their catch. In another part of the country, a stock broker is using his smartphone to exchange real-time information about stock prices and make trade decisions within seconds. The vegetable and fruit vendors in Kolkata are now accepting mobile payment for their products. And of course, the young generation is addicted to technology to stay connected with friends and family. Today, these real-time services have become a part of the everyday life and they only mark the beginning of the digital revolution. As the digital revolution continues to unfold, it relies on Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Robotics as its three pillars, and the telecommunication industry as its epicenter. This makes it imperative for telecommunication companies (telcos) to deliver infrastructure with adequate bandwidth, coverage and speed to fully embrace digitalization and enable real-time applications. Further, as digital revolutions creates a gigabyte society that will generate an annual data flow of nearly 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020, telcos have the opportunity to transform their business models. Considering, that telcos are in the prime position to gather consumer data, such as data… Read more