Category Archives: Industry News

Minimizing Downtime in Unattended Parking Systems

Don't let downtime ruin your image and profit

Don’t let downtime ruin your image and profit

Automated parking systems offer great advantages to the operator and driver alike.  That is when they are working properly.  There is nothing more frustrating than angry customers angry  because their parking system is non-functional.

Having to roll a truck for  a service call is a big waste of time and expense.  Especially when 80% of these failures can be handled with an automated reboot of the crashed system.

We improve the reliability of every network we touch.  Find out how you can benefit from reduced downtime.

Talk to Dataprobe at the International Parking Institute (IPI) trade show in Nashville next week to learn how to minimize downtime.

Email ipi@dataprobe.com, call 201-934-9944 or complete the form to set up an appointment.

Major Cost of Downtime Report Released

An iBoot of Prevention is worth a Truck Roll of Cure.

In the new study by IHS Inc. a major research firm,  the cost of downtime for information and communication technology (ICT) reaches $700 billion per year.

The report blames network interruptions as the biggest cause of downtime, and organizations average 5 occurrences per month totaling 27 hours.

Matthias Machowinski, research director for enterprise networks and video at IHS says that “The main cost of downtime is lost productivity and revenue. Fixing the problem is a minor cost factor, which means a small investment in increasing the reliability of ICT systems will provide an outsized return by reducing productivity and revenue losses,”

We couldn’t agree more.

IHS Subscribers can access the report, including Costs of Downtime Calculator Here.

Not a Subscriber?  Try Dataprobe’s Free Cost of Downtime Calculator

 

Hoverboards are not UL Listed!
Is your Power Switch?

Not UL Listed!  Go check your PDU.  It might not be either. bossip.com

With all the news about hoverboards catching fire,  it is clear that we all need to think more about product safety.  Something catches the consumers’ eye, becomes the hot new thing and then literally becomes the hot new thing.  Suddenly there are concerns over safety,  liability  and  insurance coverage.   The case with these hoverboards became acute very quickly.  Now  the FAA forbids  them on airplanes and the USPS will not accept them for shipment.

Not one of these popular products is UL Listed.  Consumers are often shocked that products can be sold without proper safety review and certification.  It’s only after a fire breaks out or someone shocks themselves does the lack of safety testing become acutely important.

Dataprobe Power Switches are UL Listed.

Those of us that make UL Listed products take the time and make the investment to produce the safest products possible.  Just like as with hoverboards, there are cheap non-certified PDUs (Power Distribution Units) you can purchase.   It’s shocking (forgive the pun) to me that these are sold by vendors that are counting on your ignorance.

Please be safe and purchase only UL or other NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) certified power products.  Dataprobe and our legitimate competitors that use these labs make professional products for commercial and residential purposes.

While it’s is not required to put UL Listed products in your home, it is for your organization.  OSHA requires that only NRTL certified electrical equipment be used in the workplace.  Non-compliance can result in fines, lawsuits and insurance claims denied.  A list of NRTLs can be found at the OSHA NRTL List.   If you don’t see one of these logos on your power distribution units, you should inform your employer to have them replaced.   For more information on these OSHA requirements visit www.osha.gov

More information about Dataprobe’s UL Listings and why it is important at dataprobe.com/ul.html

Stay informed about  Product Safety, Network Reliability and Dataprobe:

Dataprobe Supports Reliability at Ellis Island Museum


Dataprobe is proud to provide increased reliability to the kiosk and A/V installations at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration Galleries.  Selected by A/V Integrator, Electrosonic, Dataprobe’s iBoot power switches are used to provide power control to the Citizen Narrative and Citizenship Tests exhibits.

iBoot Powered Kiosk

Electrosonic, headquartered in the UK,   is a worldwide audio-visual company with extensive experience in designing, project managing, engineering and supporting AV systems and products. It was named A/V Integrator of the Year by Commercial Integrator Magazine.

iBoot provides web and cloud based power control as well as automatic reboot when necessary.  In addition to its network reliability features, iBoot can be used for scheduled energy management, and power down un-hackable security.

 

Keeping Baby Monitors Secure

Yesterday’s news regarding the FCC censure of Trendnet for lax security measures that allow unsophisticated hackers to view home camera feeds has sharpened the focus on the Internet of Things (IoT).  As more devices become network connected, and these devices play a more critical role in our daily lives, we need to be mindful of how much of our cherished privacy and necessary security is being exposed and vulnerable.

showdan

Home automation systems, and standalone devices such as door locks, medical monitoring systems and even automobiles are all internet connected and therefore subject to hacking.  Kashmir Hill of Forbes did some excellent work on this issue and was recently interviewed by PBS Newshour.

She detailed how easy it was for her to gain access to cameras, baby monitors, garage door openers and the like using no more than a search engine called Shodan and the default username/password of popular devices.   Home devices are not the only ones exposed.  You can find construction vehicles and much more, many poorly secured and accessible.   The StuxNet virus illustrates that industrial systems are vulnerable and targeted for malware.

Kiosks and other devices in the self-service space are also targets for hackers. For an overview of how easy it is, visit: This presentation by Paul Craig of security-assessment.com.

These stories and trends bring out some clear action items for both users and manufacturers of these devices.  Users must not leave the default username and password combinations.  These are public knowledge and are easy to change.  Keep the firmware updated to get the latest security patches for all these connected devices.  Registering your device with the manufacturer will help you know about the latest available firmware.  Use port forwarding, or better set up a VPN if you router has that capability.

Manufactures need to better address these security issues as well, or face the types of sanctions that Trendnet is facing now.  Make security a priority thought the life cycle of the device, from initial requirements, through product testing, and continuing threat assessment.  Patch security holes as they are reported and push firmware out to users.  Manufacturers must balance the need for security with maintaining the low cost that makes these devices affordable to the target audience.  That is much harder to do for home systems than industrial devices.  As the Internet of Things becomes more ubiquitous, it becomes a necessity rather than a differentiator.

[avatar user=”dp_david” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”] David Weiss, President
Dataprobe Inc.

Kiosks in Health Care are a Game Changer

As the pressure of health care costs continue to be an overriding concern and potential drag on stagnant middle class budgets, the increased use of self service kiosks to provide cost savings continues to be an area we at Dataprobe are watching closely.

From general information and Q&A to sophisticated diagnosis, self directed healthcare engages the consumer and reduces the overhead for the provider. Self service stations have the potential to reach areas and populations that are currently underserved. Providing timely information to direct patients to the proper providers or OTC remedies.

Provider kiosks also have the potential to improve workflow, accuracy and reduce costs.  These tools aid in collaboration across disciplines and reduce errors.

Of course serious privacy and legal concerns must be taken into account, but I personally would rather have my health data electronic and encrypted, rather than on recyclable paper. That’s the idea behind the new self service check-in system installed by Children’s Hospital of Central California. It is estimated to reduce HIPAA violations and has saved in fines that can be up to $50K per incident. Read more.

Here are a few recent news items we have been following of late.

Kiosk educates Staten Island patients about heart health | kioskmarketplace.com.

Health assessment kiosks could be health care’s missing link | kioskmarketplace.com.

Are Self-Service Kiosks the Future of Health-Care? | Fox Business

[avatar user=”dp_david” size=”thumbnail” align=”left”] David Weiss
dweiss@dataprobe.com

The Medium IS NOT the Message

A recent New York Times editorial ‘rails’ (pun intended) about the new digital signage installed by the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) at New York’s Penn Station.  In Misery Goes Digital (NYT August 3, 2013)  Lawrence Downes writes that the important content of the signs, departure track information, is visually overwhelmed by the advertising content:

At rush hour, people cluster around them, squinting. These people are the workers who keep the region’s economy going, who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, but to the L.I.R.R., they are merely captive eyeballs to be delivered to the customers it really cares about — MasterCard, Guinness Black Lager, “The Lion King,” a brand of flavored bottled water and a Mexican budget airline called Interjet.

 

LIRR Penn Station Track Signage

LIRR Penn Station Track Signage

The screens may  be too small to carry both the needed commuter information, as well as the advertising designed to garner the LIRR up to 1 million dollars per year.   Writing for Newsday, Alfonso Castillo writes:

On some of the larger screens, which stand about 7 feet high, three-quarters of the space will be taken up by ads. The LIRR displays both schedule and track information, and service updates on its share of the sign.

Although many riders welcomed the displays, some advocates raised concerns about whether the information displayed on the state-of-the-art devices will be easier to read than on some of the antiquated monitors they are replacing.

The article went on to quote Ira Greenberg, the LIRR Commuter Council representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board: “Once you provide the information, you have to provide it so people can see it,”

Ira’s got it right.  There is a distinct difference between offering a free service that is advertising supported i.e. most of the internet, and diminishing the experience of paying customers with even more advertising.  Making harried commuters work a little bit harder to get home does not do justice to the public good that our transportation network should aspire to.

Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

[avatar user=”dp_david” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”http://www.dataprobe.com/management.aspx” target=”_blank”]
David Weiss, President
dweiss@dataprobe.com