The Real Deal: ‘The new manufacturing’ starts delivering jobs, growth

The real deal, indeed. New and emerging technologies are laying the foundation for an entirely new kind of job and the people are responding. With the prospect of progress on the horizon, Kansas City is making moves to capitalize. Check it out!

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Kansas City cited as rail and road hub that could help it win federal smart-city dollars

Despite the sheer enormity of all the data that’s available in the modern day world, so much of it is irrelevant; thus inspiring inaccurate misperceptions that lead innovation down the wrong path. What we really need is not more data, but more accurate data. This fantastic article does a fantastic job of delving into this issue. Not to mention, it’s wonderfully written, concise, and engaging. Enjoy!

The Pentagon On Guard as Technology Evolves

It seems like nothing is impossible when it comes to technology in this day an age. As the years pass, technology continues to evolve with more and more advanced techniques. Many have celebrated the freedom they experience when it comes to being able to reaching out to people in the farthest corners of the Earth. For agencies like the State Department and the Defense Department, it brings up nothing but worry and fear. Threats to their networks from robots, viruses, and advanced cyber spying techniques are a constant battle.

In an attempt to cope with the advancement of technology, three agencies of the government have created an innovative summit, which took place on March 2nd. The three agencies – the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department, and the Defense Department – joined together to strategize the best ways to combat and solve worldwide security problems.

One government agency that has sought help in combating cyber attacks is the Pentagon. The defense technology they have and was only accessible to the defense industry has now become easily obtainable by hackers. Frank Kendall, the Undersecretary of Defense, spoke at the summit about one of the consequences of constant hacker attacks on their top secret military information. Paired up with Ashton Carter, the Defense Secretary, the two men have reached out to anyone who could help – including the commercial industry. After a trip to Silicon Valley earlier this year, Carter has started to structure a board of 12 members to help come up with defense technology against the attacks and how to improve the Pentagon’s technology.

At the panel Kendall stated that the Pentagon plans to spend $35 billion dollars over the course of five years into their budget for cybersecurity. This will help to accelerate various projects and products to help fight against the barrage of threats. It’s not a shock to anyone that the threats come from both inside and outside the Pentagon, yet they can’t figure out a way to measure them. In fact, it seems to be impossible.

Touching upon this, Kendall was quoted saying; “We don’t know how vulnerable we are in some cases. It is constantly moving. We have made great strides in DoD to protect ourselves. But there are lots of unknowns. An adversary can plant a weapon and leave it there indefinitely. That’s the sort of problem we’re dealing with.”

Asking for help from the commercial industry has resulted with mixed feelings from various parties. Kendall feels that a lack of resources has hindered the defense industry, but asking for help will allow them to grow. Hopefully with the amount of money flowing into their budget, the Pentagon will be able to protect themselves and learn to defend before the strike even happens.

THE BIG GREEN GIANT – THE NAVY LAUNCHES THE FIRST GREEN FLEET

In mid January, the Navy launched the “Great Green Fleet” out of San Diego. The Fleet represents the Navy and Marine Corps’ first strides into adopting alternative energy sources to enhance military operations. The energy-saving capability will help to combat the over usage of the Earth’s natural resources and protect the economic welfare of rural America. The launch of the fleet is a milestone in the military not relying on foreign sources for their energy.

Tom Vilsack, the Navy’s Agriculture Secretary, was joined by Navy Secretary, Ray Mabus, at the launch of the Navy’s latest achievement. Mabus was appointed the Secretary of the Navy back in 2009, and set an aggressive goal in his first years in office. He stated that by 2020 the Navy would be using over 50 percent of alternative sources to fuel their energy. During his speech in San Diego, he spoke about how America plans to lower the risk of American’s lives when it comes to obtaining fossil fuels.

“At the height of the fighting in Afghanistan we were losing one Marine, killed or wounded, for every 50 convoys of fuels brought in. That’s way too high of a price to pay.”

recycle-24023_960_720As the world’s greatest consumer of energy, the Defense Department has been pursing ways to cut their carbon footprint down. The Navy, who uses more than a third of the energy, have been forerunners in ending their ties with foreign oils as part of a national security plan.

Early plans to switch to biofuels were met with outrage when the Pentagon bought biofuels at $26 per gallon back in 2012. As a result of the high price tag, lawmakers passed a law that would restrict the purchase of biofuels, unless the price was on par with the price of petroleum. Now, the purchase of 77 million gallons of a 10 percent biofuel mix cost $2.05 a gallon. At 13 times less than 2012 only three and half years later, it’s a victory for Mabus. As a result of the price drop, other contracts are in the works to fuel ships in other places.

The biofuel is a mix made from waste beef fat that was provided by Midwestern farmers and ranchers. By purchasing from rural America, it will help create a sustainable economy for the 15% of Americans who reside there. Besides providing new energy sources for the fleet, the small towns of the Midwest provide around 40% of the military. Mabus stressed that land used for farming will not used in the creation of biofuel. Besides working towards eliminating the carbon footprint made by the Navy, the usage of biofuel should add thousands of jobs in a hard pressed area.

Using the biofuel will not change how the ships operate either. With rigid Navy stipulations in place, there will be no modifications to the ship transports, equipment, procedures or engines. In the next four years, the Navy is aiming to move from a 90-10 mix to a 50-50 mix.

HEADS IN THE CLOUD – IMPROVING YOUR CLOUD USAGE

The cloud is something everyone has heard of in recent years. Everyone has some kind of experience with it. It could be from their own personal smartphones or through work as more and more businesses are shifting to use cloud technology. As we move deeper and deeper into technology, the cloud has mystified and confused plenty still. So let’s start back at the basics by explaining what the cloud really is.

As defined by CNN, the cloud is a network of servers that each has a different function. Some of these servers may focus on running specific applications for different users, and others are used for storing data. Most of the apps people have on their smartphones use the cloud to store the data produced from them. Google Drives, Dropbox, Instagram, Facebook are just a few examples of apps that are using the Cloud to provide services or hold data. Sites like Mashable have provided an excellent beginners guide to the cloud if you are interested in a more indepth look at the basic structure of the cloud.

As more and more people shift to using the cloud, it’s important to understand the basics and how to improve on these new systems. With the new year upon on, there is no time like the present. Carve out the first few weeks of the year to focus on improving the IT resolutions you or your business have decided to make.  I have listed a couple suggestions below if you are not sure where to start.

The virtual cloud

The virtual cloud

First you want to train yourself or your people. When a business decides to shift to new technology, it’s important to ensure that everyone has the same knowledge as everyone else. One of the worst things that can happen in a business is a lack of training. Not everyone will be on the same page and it’s important to ensure the team has a basic understanding of the new cloud-based systems and can work with them. As a result of this training, there will be less errors and issues that could arise in the future. If you don’t know how to conduct these trainings, look for companies like Grovo who specialize in training businesses.

After your team is trained, you want to set up a specific team that monitors for issues and the performance of the cloud. Yes, everyone should have the basics down, but this specialized team will be able to understand the data coming from the cloud, and have the ability to analyze it. This team will also be able to stop potential issues that do arise or fix them quickly before it does any long lasting damage.

This management team will also be responsible for the API’s and services. An API is Application Program Interface, which are protocols, routines, and tools used in building software applications. They set how software components should work with each other and are what drive the clouds to work. The management team will control the access to them and what certain people can do with them since a lot of damage can be caused if these controls are placed in the wrong hands.

Following these steps will be timely but be incredibly cost effective in the long run. I hope these tips help you and you have a safe and wonderful New Years.