Innovation

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Autodesk as ever has taken the opportunity of SIGGRAPH to highlight the next generation of its storytelling and collaboration tools. “The continued growth of AR and VR and steady flow of new productions from Netflix, Amazon and others, mean animation and VFX houses are in more demand than ever. We’re focused on helping our customers create, connect and compute faster and more efficiently so they can balance their increasing project loads with tighter schedules and budgets,” said Media & Entertainment SVP Chris Bradshaw.

For the overall Media & Entertainment Collection, new subscription benefits include Cloud Rights, popular drawing tool SketchBook for Enterprise, and access to an Arnold 5-pack promo starting Sept. 7.

Maya 2018 offers additional character creation, motion graphics, and rendering functionality. Improvements have made character creation easier, faster, and fun. The motion graphics toolset now includes dynamics and new instancing capabilities. Maya 2018 is available with the latest version of Arnold, including new features and core architecture improvements.

Shotgun has introduced features to simplify workflows, make it easier to integrate creation tools with Shotgun, and strengthen security. Shotgun 7.2 introduced plug-and-play integrations to accelerate artist workflows; updates to RV; and new single sign-on. Shotgun 7.3 continues to build on a secure and reliable foundation for studios by adding improvements that make it easier for site administrators to run and manage Shotgun. Features include smart data retention for improved site performance and community-driven enhancements including improved action menu items and the ability to restart your own site.

Arnold 5.0.1 builds on the strengths of the recent 5.0 release, and includes new functionality like AOV shaders for cryptomatte workflows, thin film for standard surface shader and additional updates and optimizations. Arnold 5.0.1 is available with the latest versions of Maya and 3ds Max or as a plugin for additional DCC applications; and is now available for free to educational institutions through the Autodesk Education Portal.

3ds Max update adds VR authoring tools for design visualization artists and generalists; 3ds Max interactive, a VR engine that simplifies the creation of immersive and interactive architectural visualizations; and additional UX and UV unwrap improvements. Check it out in a 3ds Max to VR Workflow demo at the booth.

Flame Family 2018.2 introduces new creative tools that enhance artist productivity and expand pipeline integration possibilities. Some new features are Pybox, a python scriptable software handler for processing images via external renderers; projector functionality, map inputs and a contextual menu in action; smart merge for the connected conform workflow; and the ability to drive the batch environment via scriptable commands.

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Visit booth #801 or click over to Autodesk’s dedicated SIGGRAPH page for details.

HPNVIDIA and Technicolor have teamed up to explore the next frontiers of human colonization with the “HP Mars Home Planet” project. Participants will work together to design and engineer an urban area for one million new inhabitants on our red neighbor, then they’ll bring it to life through photorealistic renders and virtual reality. (NVIDIA also collaborated on Fusion’s Mars 2030 VR experience, launched last year.) The Concept Phase — phase 1 of 3 — kicks off this week at SIGGRAPH, with participants imagining and illustrating a vehicle, building, infrastructure or products — anything from scanned napkin sketches to 3D renderings will be accepted. Participants can register now at hp.com/go/mars — the first 10,000 registrants will receive a Mars 2030 download code and terrain files. The project winners will be announced at SIGGRAPH 2018.

 

StratusCore announced significant enhancements to its cloud-based Dynamicshot platform for digital artists and creative studios. The platform is already used by global content producers such as Sony, Sony Interactive, Universal, DreamWorks and Netflix, and more than 45,000 digital artists worldwide. This includes new Digital Escrow service with milestone-based review, approval, delivery and payment system; Virtual Workstation Anywhere program enabling creative work in game engines and 3D modeling programs over browser; specialized Game Development Virtual Workstation with access to Unity 2017 and Unreal Engine 4 (support for CRYENGINE and more in development); direct cloud rendering access via LaunchPad; and new pricing models for rendering software.

“There’s a massive opportunity to unleash significant efficiencies in digital content creation with the flexibility, intelligence and collaboration that only the cloud can impart,” said Denise Muyco, co-founder & CEO. “We are staying ahead of the pack by closely working with our artist community and partners to build a potent set of connected services that allow digital artists and studios to better compete in the digital content creation workplace.”

X-Rite Inc. and its subsidiary Pantone have announced that AMD Radeon ProRender for 3ds Max, Maya and Blender natively support the Appearance Exchange Format (AxF) it developed — and in a separate announcement, that Next Limit Technologies Maxwell 4.1 does as well. AxF is a vendor-neutral format that enables the communication of all aspects of a physical material’s appearance – color, texture, gloss, refraction, transparency, translucency, special effects (sparkles) and reflection properties – in a single, editable file to bring physically correct material representations to VFX, animation, product design and 3D visualization. New allies join other leading render and CAD tools Allegorithmic Substance Designer, Autodesk VRED Professional 2017, Lumiscaphe Patchwork 3D, Luxion KeyShot and NVIDIA Iray.

AxF is the foundational component of X-Rite’s Total Appearance Capture (TAC) ecosystem, a solution that brings a new level of accuracy and efficiency to the capture, communication and presentation of physical materials in the virtual world. This is comprised of the TAC7 scanner, PANTORA Material Hub desktop application, and Virtual Light Booth (VLB). Physical material samples are scanned using the TAC7 scanner, which captures appearance properties digitally to create AxF files that store appearance data. The files are stored, managed, viewed and edited in the PANTORA desktop application.

strausak, ugrind, u-grind, swiss quality
Dem Schweizer Schleifmaschinenhersteller Strausak gelang es im letzten Jahr mit der U-Grind die bewährte Fleximat in puncto Flexibilität und Genauigkeit zu übertreffen
ugrind_strausak_01, Strausak - Schleifmaschinen Schweizer Multitalent

Anfang der 90er-Jahre setzte die Strausak AG mit der ersten 5-achsigen Werkzeugschleif-maschine Fleximat ein deutliches Zeichen und sorgte in vielen Werkzeugbetrieben für eine hohe Produktivität beim Schleifen von Werkzeugen. Zudem baute der Hersteller bei den Maschinen auf die CNC-Steuerung Num 1050. Eine Revolution für das Schleifen und Nachschleifen war auch die Kombination mit der CAD/CAM-Software Numrotoplus. Noch heute ist das Paket bewährt und beliebt. Die U-Grind in ihrer ersten Form verkaufte sich gut, berichtet Stefan Möri, Head of Sales bei Strausak: „Die U-Grind wurde im letzten Jahr von den Anwendern sehr gut angenommen. Mit der, im Vergleich zur Fleximat, höheren Genauigkeit, dem automatischen Scheibenwechsler und dem flexiblen Ein- und Umrichten kommt sie bei Schleifbetrieben sehr gut an.“ Und auch mit der bewährten Steuerung NUM Flexium und der Software Numroto plus finden sich die Maschinenbediener bestens zurecht. Die neue U-Grind präsentiert sich in einem noch kompakteren Design und neuer, verbesserter Ergonomie. So ist etwa der Footprint im Vergleich zur Vorgängermaschine um etwa 25 Prozent geringer. Das ermöglicht eine einfachere Fertigungsplanung mit mehreren Maschinen bei begrenzten Platzverhältnissen.

U-Grind im neuen Kleid

„Die Entwicklung begann bereits vor zwei Jahren. Im Kern hat sich die neue U-Grind nicht geändert“, beschreibt Möri. Sie verfügt wie ihr Vorgängermodell über eine hohe strukturelle Steifigkeit und Dämpfung, die für eine große Laufruhe sorgt und höchste Oberflächenergebnisse ermöglicht, bei zugleich engsten Maßtoleranzen. Die U-Grind erreicht Genauigkeiten von 5 µm, in Verbindung mit dem In-Process-Messen auch darunter. Größte Änderung ist das Verlagern der gesamten Elektronik der Maschine auf die rechte Maschinenseite. So bildet der Block mit dem dort montierten Scheibenwechsler eine harmonische Gehäuseseite. Ein weiteres Highlight ist die nun einzelne, dafür deutlich größere Tür zum Innenraum, die das Einrichten erleichtert. „Besonderes Augenmerk richteten die Entwickler auf die deutlich verbesserte Zugänglichkeit zum Maschineninnenraum“, berichtet Möri. So ist auch über die linke und hintere Seite der Zugang zum Maschineninnenraum frei möglich. Das Ziel war, die Flexibilität der Maschine zu erhöhen und mit den Automatisierungsmöglichkeiten die Produktivität zu verbessern. Dazu zählen die kurzen Ein- und Umrichtzeiten.

 Automatisierung

Das Konzept wurde gezielt in Richtung Automatisierung getrimmt. Im Low-Cost-Bereich gibt es einen einfachen Pick-up Lader, der für Standardwerkzeuge im Bereich Bohrer oder Schaftfräser genutzt werden kann. Eine aufwändigere Lösung ist mit einem komplexen Roboter möglich. „Schleifbetriebe können so eine große Teilevielfalt und einen höheren Durchsatz realisieren“, beschreibt Möri. Der Pick-up Lader ist als einfache Lösung gedacht und soll mit einer Kapazität von maximal 60 Werkzeugen bei einem 3 mm Durchmesser für eine wirtschaftliche Fertigung sorgen. Bei der komplexeren Automatisierungslösung können auch über ein chaotisch gefülltes Palettensystem eine Vielzahl an Werkzeugen geschliffen werden.

SARDI INNOVATION, STRAUSAK DESIGNER ITALIEN, Strausak - Schleifmaschinen Schweizer Multitalent
BEFORE AND AFTER – Design by SARDI INNOVATION TEAM

Das ermöglicht es Werkzeugschleifbetrieben, auch schwere oder lange Werkzeuge zu produzieren oder nachzuschleifen. Spezielle Unterstützungen für die Werkzeuge in der Maschine sorgen dabei für ein präzises Ergebnis. Möri: „Die Automatisierungslösungen werden je nach individuellem Kundenwunsch bei uns in der Schweiz in die Maschine integriert. Je nach Anforderung erhält der Anwender die für ihn passende Lösung.“Strausak baut zudem seine Kernkompetenz in Sachen Entwicklung und Service weiter aus. Dazu zählt auch die Übernahme von Applikationsentwicklungen für den Anwender, etwa bei neuen Werkzeugen. „Fehlt das nötige Wissen, wie ein neues Werkzeug perfekt geschliffen werden soll, bieten wir bei Strausak die entsprechende Hilfe an und entwickeln Strategien, wie die Werkzeuge geschliffen oder nachgeschliffen werden können“, erläutert Möri. Das Unternehmen, das inzwischen zur Rollomatic-Gruppe gehört, konzentriert sich auf Werkzeugbetriebe für Einzel- und Sonderwerkzeuge sowie Klein- bis Mittelserien und kommt so mit dem Rollomatic-Portfolio nicht in Konflikt, das auf die Serienproduktion ausgelegt ist.

Live zu sehen sein wird die neue U-Grind auf der EMO in Mailand. Zuvor konnten sich Fachleute auf der Timtos ein Bild der Maschine machen. „Für 2015 planen wir eine Verdopplung der Produktion“, sagt Möri. Neben der neuen U-Grind sind das auch andere Maschinen aus dem Strausak Portfolio. Präsenzen in Asien, Shanghai und Tokio mit Showrooms, sowie eine Zweigniederlassung in Chicago, USA, für Applikationen und Service, sollen den Umsatz kräftig ankurbeln.

Strausak – Schleifmaschinen Schweizer Multitalent

Improvisation is the process of devising a solution to a requirement by making-do, despite absence of resources that might be expected to produce a solution. In a technical context, this can mean adapting a device for some use other than that which it was designed for, or building a device from unusual components in an ad-hoc fashion. Improvisation in the context of performing arts is spontaneous performance without specific preparation. The skills of improvisation can apply to many different faculties, across all artistic, scientific, physical, cognitive, academic, and non-academic disciplines.

Big design firms such as IDEO and Smart Design have made millions on their “design thinking” and “human-centered design process.” Which is good for them, but doesn’t necessarily teach you how to crib their mojo for your own endeavors. Peter Robie, an Engineering professor at Dartmouth, has an answer that would make Dunder Mifflin’s Michael Scott: Copy improv comedy classes.

Apparently, in his Design Thinking course, Robie has students act out how people use the objects around them. It’s a technique learned from experience. According to The Dartmouth Engineer:

“This class on improv is a tool for brainstorming,” he explains. “I’ve always thought that the quickest and smartest folks at the brainstorming phase of design have been those who do standup and improv. They never say no. They never miss a beat. Improv requires players to accept what they are given, build on the ideas of others, and encourage wild ideas…”

…”Everyone thinks that they know how to brainstorm, but in fact, brainstorming is usually plagued by problems like self-censoring, competitiveness, and ridicule,” says Robbie. “Improv is a great way for students to learn to defer judgment.”

Why Design Matters

According to Robbie, design is crucial for engineers. “Design begins with the recognition of need and follows an intentional process by which you apply knowledge and actually make products to effect change,” he says. “It is central to innovation. It essentially is the process of innovation.” Not all design is created equal, however. In addition to the aesthetic side of design, Robbie distinguishes between technology-driven design and human-centered design. “Technology-driven design often results in products looking for a need. Human-centered design always keeps the needs of end users in mind,” he says. “Design for humans needs to begin with developing understanding and empathy for human experience. It applies science and technology but also includes insights from the humanities and the social sciences. Engineers often love to jump right into making things, but early in the design process it’s often preferable to focus on deeply understanding the needs of end users.”

Design is a Process

“The most surprising thing to me about design is the fact that you can learn it,” says engineering major Francis Fortin-Houle ’10. “When I first came to Dartmouth, I thought it was a skill that you either have or that you don’t have. Little did I know how wrong I was.”

Robbie demystifies design by breaking it into systematic steps. “I believe it’s important to create classroom experiences that will increase students’ confidence in their own creative design abilities,” he says.

Using improv to get students comfortable with brainstorming is a case in point. “Everyone thinks that they know how to brainstorm, but in fact, brainstorming is usually plagued by problems like self-censoring, competitiveness, and ridicule,” says Robbie. “Improv is a great way for students to learn to defer judgment.”

The process of design thinking is increasingly critical for meeting the ultimate need of humanity: finding ways to live sustainably. “Everything that’s man-made has to go through some design process,” says Robbie. “The world is at the point where we can’t just keep doing things the same way. There’s going to have to be more emphasis on rethinking the design of everything with a focus on life-cycle analysis and searching for radical new solutions.” Engineering students equipped with both comprehensive technical knowledge and creative design abilities will be in great demand — and will have wide-open opportunities in the next wave of technology innovation. “Going forward, these students know that they’ll be required to rethink assumptions about how we make everything in the built environment,” says Robbie. “It’s going to require an enormous creative effort.”

The University of Zurich will become the second place in Europe to carry out zero-gravity flights in order to study the effects of a weightless environment.

Through parabolic flights launched from the Dübendorf military air field by the French company Novespace, individuals who are willing to pay CHF8800 ($9366) will be able to experience weightlessness without leaving Earth’s atmosphere. The University of Zurich will use the flights to carry out experiments that would normally have to be done in space. According to Olivier Ullrich of the university’s Institute of Anatomy, his team carried out two such experiments at the International Space Station last year and now wants to be able to do similar research within Switzerland through zero-gravity flights.

The first flights will take place in September and will be carried out using a remodeled Airbus A310. Each flight will last about 90 minutes, during which time the airplane ascend and descend rapidly several times, forming the shape of a parabola. The passengers will experience weightlessness 15 times for 22 seconds each time. A video from Novespace illustrates how the flights work.

The first day of the flights will be reserved primarily for scientific experiments being carried out by Ullrich and his team as well by his colleagues in the veterinary sciences department.

“The experiments won’t be the main focus [of the flight],” Ullrich explained. “Instead, it will be about whether the flights are doable and whether it makes sense to continue to offer them for research and development purposes.”

On the second day, flights will be offered to the general public for CHF8800 per person. Those fees will cover the costs of carrying out the flights as a pilot project. According to Ullrich, a handful of people have signed up to date. Each flight has room for 40 passengers.

Following the initial flights, the university will decide whether to offer them more regularly for continued research purposes.

Elsewhere in Europe, such zero-gravity flights are currently available in Bordeaux, France, where they are also carried out by Novespace, a partner of the French Space Agency CNES.

The company Swiss Space Systems (S3) has also announced plans to launch zero-gravity flights for the public in Switzerland.

LEGO bricks turned into scientific tool to study plant growth. Engineers are using LEGO bricks to build controlled environments to study how variations in climate and soil affect plant growth. They say LEGO bricks “are highly convenient and versatile building blocks” for the studies. While looking for a way to study plant and root growth that was simple, inexpensive and flexible — something that allowed experiments to be reproduced all over the world, even in labs without the latest technologies or the infrastructure required for plant science or agronomy research — researchers thought of LEGO bricks. And it worked.

Ludovico Cademartiri had what seemed like an impossibly demanding list of requirements for his lab equipment.

The Iowa State University assistant professor of materials science and engineering wants to understand environmental effects on plant growth, specifically how variations in climate and soil characteristics affect root growth. That requires highly controlled environments that expose whole plants to environmental effects such as nutrients, water, oxygen gradients as well as physical obstacles for the roots.

Greenhouses can create fairly controlled environments for whole plants, but they’re homogeneous. And microfluidic technologies can create highly controlled micron-scale environments, but they’re expensive, relatively complex and not easy to scale up.

Cademartiri was looking for a way to study plant and root growth that was simple, inexpensive and flexible, something that allowed experiments to be reproduced all over the world, even in labs without the latest technologies or the infrastructure required for plant science or agronomy research.

He was looking for something modular, scalable and structurally precise. He wanted something simple, reproducible, affordable and capable of many simultaneous experiments. He was looking for something transparent, autoclavable, three-dimensional, chemically inert and compatible with existing plant growth experiments.

And he thought of the perfect something from the toy aisle: LEGO bricks.

“Forget for a minute that they’re used as toys,” Cademartiri said. “They’re actually pieces of high-quality plastic, built to extraordinary standards of precision, that you can use to build stuff.”

They’re also “a good example of how something simple can solve a complex design problem,” he said.

Cademartiri and his research group report their use of LEGO bricks to successfully build engineered environments for plant and root studies in a paper just published by the peer-reviewed, online journal PLOS ONE.

The paper’s authors include Cademartiri; Kara Lind, an Iowa State doctoral student in materials science and engineering; Saida Benomar, a former postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory; Anthony Miller, a former Iowa State undergraduate in agronomy; and Tom Sizmur, formerly a postdoctoral research associate at Iowa State and the Ames Lab, now of Rothamsted Research in Harpenden, England.

Lind said her primary role with the project was figuring out how to configure transparent LEGO bricks to hold gel or other soil substitutes for germinating and growing plants. She also experimented with ways to make the LEGO environments bigger to accommodate growing plants. And she developed techniques to create controlled chemical gradients in the LEGO environments with the intent of testing plant response to nutrients and toxins.

“When I started this research program, there was a lack of tools for the creation of highly controlled and yet frugal environments capable of holding an entire plant,” Cademartiri said. “The first objective we focused on was building a library of tools that would be accessible to everybody and allow them — and us — to proceed to scientific experiments.”

The researchers accomplished their objective: “We here demonstrate that LEGO bricks are highly convenient and versatile building blocks for building centimeter-scale engineered environments for plant roots,” they wrote in their paper.

Will the paper have other researchers visiting the toy aisle?

“We do believe it could be useful,” Cademartiri said.

The researchers wrote in their paper that they’ll continue to develop this library of tools for “the fabrication of frugal but sophisticated” environments for studies of plants and other organisms.

Digitalization is forcing banks to undergo the most extensive transformation in their history, says Holger Spielberg. Credit Suisse’s new “Head of Innovation” for its Digital Private Bank explains the financial revolution.

Holger Spielberg, 47, is Head of Innovation for the Digital Private Bank at Credit Suisse. He previously held the position of Head of Mobile Payment and Retail Services at PayPal and worked at various start-ups and risk venture companies in Silicon Valley. Originally from Germany, he lives in Horgen and has one son.

In an industry report, PwC writes the following: “Banks find themselves in the midst of a transition with the term ‘digital’ at its core”; in another report, McKinsey & Co. write: “Getting digital banking right is a matter of life and death.” Are we in the midst of the greatest revolution in the history of banking?

Holger Spielberg: That was a long question. The answer is much shorter: Yes, that’s right.

Why?

Banks today are at a crossroads. On the one hand, they are still processing their recent history. On the other hand, we can already see the first effects of a digitalization of society, an issue that banks are still struggling with. Bank branches are hardly needed any longer. Payments and money transfers can be handled by platforms and robots. These basic functions will be open and free, they do not necessarily require a bank. And soon, we will be able to pay our telephone bills using social media.

The retail business is under pressure.

Yes, and the banks are in a bad position. The competition is closer to the clients and comes mostly from outside of the world of finance – Apple, Facebook, or Swisscom in Switzerland, which is making a strong push into finance. Add to that the fact that “fintechs,” startup companies in the financial area, are springing up like mushrooms. Worldwide, around seven billion francs are being invested in these companies annually. We are seeing a lot of fintechs in the retail area right now, as well as increasingly exciting approaches in wealth management.

But isn’t the outlook in private banking better?

In this area, we find ourselves in a relatively strong position – for now. This business is much more complex and the usually quite exclusive clients are less price-sensitive than in the retail business. Security, relevance, expertise and protection of the private realm are just as important. But here, too, there is a digital revolution.

One hears a lot about the “Digital Private Bank.” Until now, though, this has seldom meant more than graphically attractive portfolio analyses and access to the client’s own data using any device. Is that a revolution?

First of all, yes, you are right that user interfaces and mobile access are truly the first things to have changed. But it was necessary. Our interaction with the digital world has undergone enormous changes in a very short time. No one was demanding a screen that could be manipulated by swiping back and forth, but once it was here, everyone thought it was cool. Innovations like this will continue to come. They aren’t specifically related to banking, but we are affected by them and have to do our part. Otherwise, we run the risk of becoming alienated from our clients.

Secondly?

Banks have been forced to change their business model in recent years due to the financial crisis and more stringent regulatory requirements. In addition, there is a huge amount of pressure on the relationship of costs to revenue. It’s about achieving a whole new level of efficiency on the one hand, while also presenting new growth. The digital world offers an opportunity here, but many European banks are still reacting too hesitantly. Visually augmented graphics are just a band-aid, but not a model for the future.

What will it take?

That is the third part of the answer. I believe that we need to somewhat rethink banking, consistently with clients in mind. With all the buzz about fintechs, banks have the potential to establish themselves sustainably for the future. So we have to rethink our services from a push to a pull model. My vision is to see banking become integrated in the lives of our clients, with more relevance and a great deal of trust. For the banks, this means investing intelligently in new strategic competencies, such as partnering. If the banks really trust in themselves, they can be better than any start-up.

Why are American banks more advanced in this regard?

For a long time the American banking system was very inefficient and was still functioning in part on a manual level – think checks, for example. There was extreme pressure to innovate, compounded by the fact that digitalization was much more advanced in other areas. In addition, the economic crisis hit earlier, and US banks were forced to cut costs, which is achieved through digitalization. Besides, regulations and data protection are less stringent than they are here. And, finally, the American banks are serving an enormous market, which is a very important aspect for digitalization since economies of scale are what count here. You don’t earn much for individual clients; you need high volumes to pay off the high development costs and expensive software solutions.

Is it also a question of mindset?

Yes. The way I see it, US banks have fewer reservations about Silicon Valley, fintech ventures and technological innovations; we could learn something from them in that regard.

How is Credit Suisse responding to the digital challenge?

By taking specific steps: In order to really change things, we are changing the way we work and approach the topic. This starts with our team, which we are augmenting with talented people from other industries, startups and with digital backgrounds. I’m also trying to set the tone, based on my 15 years of experience in Silicon Valley. We are transforming all of our activities to be more agile, and with our office layout we’ve put the business and developer teams together. We can point to the measurable, positive experiences we’ve had with our “factory” in Singapore in this regard.

What’s ahead for the long term?

Zurich and Silicon Valley will have innovation labs after 2020. There, we hope to create interfaces with other developments in society, technology and research, as well as realize projects and prototypes for shaping our own banking future. These labs should also become sources of disruptive thinking and impulses, which will redefine banking and completely reconfigure processes and added value for clients in Wealth Management, for example. With the Digital Private Bank, we find ourselves at the beginning of the bank’s transformation. A number of other banks are currently also taking on digitalization for themselves. I am convinced that, in the long term, the banks that will be successful are not those that offer the coolest features right now. Rather, success must be measured by the bank’s ability to implement digital changes sensibly and efficiently on an organizational level.

What will the role of the client advisor be?

In our philosophy, the client advisor will play an important personal role. But roles and tasks have to change in order to remain more relevant to the lives of our clients in the future. The fact is that we are not taking the right approach with the 30-year-old Google millionaires or the Millennials. A traditional “wine and dine” approach is working less and less in this segment, where the advisor is seen as more of a coach. These clients want support in how to handle money in general, how to set financial goals and how to make them achievable.

Will Credit Suisse be on a first-name basis with its clients, addressing them using the informal “you”?

We are a global company, so “you” is already just “you”! But that should ultimately be left up to the client. After all, using digital channels in addition to client advisors also creates a much more personal relationship with our clients.

Swiss banks stand for discretion. The digital world stands for the opposite: absolute openness. Isn’t that a contradiction?

“Swissness” is a strong value established over centuries and which, at its core, remains a solid one. Especially these days when so much is “shared,” trust and security mean a lot. This is what the Swiss banks should build upon, redefining discretion in a digital world.

How?

If I want to transfer money from one social media platform to another, as previously mentioned, the underlying platform must be able to guarantee data security. That could be a Swiss bank. The exciting thing is that digital also means direct personto-person interaction. New technologies can help here and represent an opportunity for Swiss banks with their tradition and international reputation.

Where is mobile payment actually ideal?

Number one in mobile payment is my former employer PayPal, simply because a significant portion of e-commerce is conducted using mobile end devices and PayPal is innovative. Yet Starbucks is number two. They are not actually even involved in the mobile payment areas, but they have an app for ordering a latte, earning loyalty points or buying someone a coffee – and along the way you can also pay the bill. It works like Uber, where everything is integrated in a single app: ordering a taxi, displaying wait times, entering the destination, rating the driver – and paying, too, including a digital receipt which can be automatically saved in an expense report. The payment function is successful because it is embedded in the app. Really, why should I carry cash?

Does consumption rise along with the user-friendliness of electronic money?

I’m not sure. Of course the transaction becomes easier, but you also have a higher degree of transparency and control. Household budgets are very well suited for digital solutions. There are more and more apps to connect various accounts and let you know how you stand compared to your budget. You receive an alert if you exceed a spending limit.

Transportation startups Uber and Lyft have long billed themselves as ride-sharing companies that, among other things, can reduce the number of cars on the road. The argument is that low fares make using such services cheaper and easier than keeping your own vehicle in a congested city. It’s been a shaky claim, given that both companies have attracted new waves of professional drivers who typically carry only one passenger. Uber even helps would-be drivers secure auto loans, putting more cars on the road. In January the Associated Press banned the phrase “ride-sharing” to describe Uber or Lyft, concluding that their services were closer to “ride-hailing” or “ride-booking.” Or, you know, a taxi.

Now both companies are testing services that might finally fulfill their greener promises. UberPool and Lyft Line, available in a handful of cities, match two sets of riders heading in the same direction and charge them a reduced fare. This kind of carpooling, hardly a new idea, may play a major role in the outcome of the San Francisco companies’ furious competition against each other and the $11 billion traditional U.S. taxi and limo industry. “I do think this is the future of ride-sharing—the actual sharing of rides,” says Harry Campbell, an Uber and Lyft driver and author of The Rideshare Guy, an industry blog. “They can lower the price and make the business accessible to people who may not have taken a ride before.”

The services, though easy to use, are complicated and potentially expensive to operate. A rider must select the carpooling option on her Uber or Lyft app and enter a destination. While a nearby driver picks her up, the app’s algorithm searches for another passenger whose journey falls along the same path. If a match is made, the two passengers split the fare for the time they share the car. In theory, this option can halve prices for riders while also earning drivers more money per (longer) ride. But when passengers select the carpooling option and end up riding solo, Uber and Lyft still give them the discount and pay drivers the rest of what they would have made for the full fare. Uber cited this system, and its coming expansion, as one reason it raised $1.6 billion in convertible debt on Jan. 21.

Lyft, which was founded in 2010 as an intercity carpooling service called Zimride, says the idea behind Lyft Line has been central to its mission all along. “Our initial product, classic Lyft, was designed to create liquidity in every market as the foundation we need to support a world where every driver on the road can be a Lyft driver,” says Logan Green, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer. “Now we get to play that next card and start matching up people to take rides.” He says one-third of Lyft rides in San Francisco are now shared.

Green argues that his company, with its signature pink mustaches and ritual of friendly fist bumps between drivers and riders, is better positioned to capitalize on real ride-sharing. “We have created an environment where people actually want to and enjoy sharing rides, whereas Uber is about having your own private space,” he says.

Besides operating in San Francisco, Lyft Line and UberPool are running in New York. The Lyft carpool is also available in Los Angeles; the Uber version, in Paris. Drivers and riders say UberPool lags Lyft Line in popularity, but Uber is taking steps to change that. On Jan. 23 it offered San Franciscans a $5 flat fee per ride using its carpool service. “We are still very much in the ramping-up phase, though it is going very well,” says Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer. During commuting hours, he says, Uber is pairing riders for 80 percent of UberPool trips between San Francisco’s residential Marina neighborhood and the South of Market business district, an area dense with startups.

So far, the services seem to appeal primarily to younger riders who have time to spare and are willing to navigate clumsy chitchat with a stranger. Benji Hyam, 27, is a San Francisco tech worker who began using Lyft Line in the fall for the discount, betting he wouldn’t get matched with another passenger. The first time he was paired up, he says, he panicked and canceled the car before it arrived. The next time he sat with the other person in stony silence, staring at his phone, until the driver said “this is super awkward” and ordered them to talk to each other. That led to an exchange of business cards and a meeting about a potential partnership between their companies, Hyam says. Now a convert, he takes Lyft Line three times a week and recently decided to leave the Mazda hatchback he’d been keeping in the city at his parents’ home in San Diego. “Every single person I have gotten in the car with has been interesting in some way,” he says.

Drivers are also enamored of the serendipity that can accompany a shared ride. Sharlett Downing, a high school counselor in Woodside, Calif., who drives for Lyft in her spare time, says one pair of passengers turned out to be old friends from high school and ended up embracing in her back seat. Another pair who didn’t know each other hit it off so well, they chose to get out at the same place. “It gave me chills,” she says. “It constantly shows me how small even a big city can be.”

Lyft and Uber still have a lot of work to do to prove they can build a business on true ride-sharing. What works in San Francisco may not work in cities with fewer adventurous young riders. Interviews with drivers also suggest there’s widespread confusion about whether they get paid more for shared rides or if their pay is reduced when they have to wait for a carpooler. “A lot of the rules aren’t very clear,” says Campbell, the industry blogger. And for people just looking for a cheaper ride, there may not always be much reason to switch from going alone. To compete with cab companies and each other, Uber and Lyft are aggressively lowering the prices of their basic services in many cities, often to half the charge of a traditional taxi.

Yet as the companies vie for market share, working to fulfill their original promises to improve the environment and mitigate traffic jams may have added benefits. “If you can roll this out in a city like Beijing and reduce traffic by half, that would be a game changer,” Uber’s Holden says. Drivers see the potential, too. “If you are getting more drivers off the streets and making driving more efficient, that is a beautiful thing,” says John Donohie, a former high school teacher who drives for Uber. “In the grand scheme of things, that is more important to me than making a few bucks.”

By: Brad Stone
Source: Bloomberg

Enrique Luis Sardi Humard designer Delemont Georges Humard swiss precision

L’entreprise propose à ses clients des presses hydrauliques de haute précision et des systèmes d’automation dans le but d’augmenter la productivité
et la facilité d’utilisation des installations industrielles.

 

Enrique Luis Sardi Matija Maticevic Stefano Ghiglione Silvio Marangoni sardi design team
Le design innovant des Servo’ Presses hydrauliques CNC HUMARD ® allie productivité élevée et ergonomie

HUMARD Automation SA, Delémont, a été créée en 1995 par les frères Georges et Raphaël Humard, tous deux directeurs généraux. Georges est responsable de la partie commerciale alors que Raphaël dirige la R&D et la production. L’entreprise a débuté en développant des solutions de robotisation pour les presses hydrauliques et, aujourd’hui, HUMARD Automation SA est spécialisée dans la conception, le développement
et la fabrication de machines hautement automatisées ou robotisées. Son assortiment compte six lignes de produits, à savoir les presses hydrauliques de grande précision, les systèmes d’automatisation de la production, les robots de manutention, les automates de palettisation, les décolleteuses de haute précision ainsi que les accessoires et dispositifs divers. Tous les produits sont conçus pour accroître la productivité des installations industrielles, véritable défi pour les entreprises en Suisse qui se doivent de produire à très haute valeur ajoutée pour rester concurrentielles.

Si HUMARD Automation SA a su se forger une belle réputation, c’est grâce à des valeurs sur lesquelles aucune concession n’est envisagée. En 1er lieu, la qualité et la fiabilité des machines livrées chez le client et, ensuite, une solide capacité d’innovation, à travers un bureau de R&D d’une quinzaine de personnes (près de 30% de l’effectif  total), animées d’une véritable capacité d’observation et d’anticipation du marché.

Des systèmes sur mesure et modulables

A l’aide de modules standardisés, HUMARD Automation SA combine les éléments pour réaliser des solutions sur mesure, adaptées aux besoins spécifiques du client. L’interchangeabilité des modules offre en outre une grande flexibilité ; une chaîne de montage peut ainsi être modifiée en tout temps, et avec une interruption de travail minimale.

Trois entreprises complémentaires

Georges et Raphaël Humard font preuve d’un véritable esprit d’entrepreneurs, ne refusent aucun défi, mais sont attentifs à une évolution maîtrisée de leur société. Pour  soutenir le développement, deux entreprises ont été acquises, offrant synergies et complémentarité.

En 2002, New Ingenia SA, distributeur exclusif « Bosch Rexroth » pour la Suisse romande, a été rachetée et transférée à Delémont. Elle conçoit, monte et vend des installations complètes intégrant des profilés en aluminium telles que postes de travail, systèmes de convoyage et châssis d’installations diverses.

Seuret SA, spécialisée dans la révision de machines, notamment à cames, a, quant à elle, été reprise en 2011. Le mariage entre la force industrielle de HUMARD Automation SA et les compétences microtechniques de Seuret SA a permis la commercialisation d’un tour automatique de haute précision
combinant savoir-faire ancestral et technologies de pointe.

Enrique Luis Sardi designer milano suisse switzerland svizzera Schweiz high quality swiss made hydraulic press
Gros plan sur la zone de travail spacieuse de la Servo’ Presse hydraulique

Les clients d’HUMARD Automation SA sont issus de l’horlogerie, la joaillerie, l’électronique, le médical, l’alimentaire ainsi que l’automobile. HUMARD Automation SA est très bien implantée en Suisse et une expansion vers certains marchés étrangers ciblés est en cours. Pour abriter ses activités, l’entreprise a bâti quatre usines dans la zone industrielle La Communance à Delémont. Une 5e halle, destinée à Seuret SA, est opérationnelle
dès cet automne. Côté personnel, une septantaine de collaborateurs travaillent pour l’ensemble du groupe, y compris des apprentis dessinateurs sur machines et automaticiens.

HUMARD Automation SA, qui avait obtenu le soutien de la Promotion économique lors de son démarrage est aujourd’hui un fleuron de l’économie jurassienne.

 

Humard Innovation and Design team

Source: EnPlus

This week in Paris the world’s luxury automakers will show off their best new work.

The Mondial de l’Automobile 2014 (Paris Auto Show) opens to the public on this Saturday, October 4, primed to dovetail perfectly with the final catcalls of Paris Fashion Week. And like the fashion designers before them, automakers will be doing their best to scatter their own catwalks, as it were, with style. (Or in the case of Stella McCartney’s wrapped Jaguar XEs, employ fashion stars directly.)

These days, with consumers more educated and demanding than ever, they’ve got to.

“I don’t think there’s any separation between architecture, interiors, art, music, fashion anymore — they all blend together,” said Keith Baptista at breakfast in Soho last week. The co-founder of MADE Studios had just finished his company’s run of Lexus-sponsored New York fashion shows. “In order for automakers to reach those luxury customers, they have to be there. They have to be involved in those worlds.”

While it’s not as influential as the shows in Detroit and Los Angeles, the Paris Auto Show is a crucial opportunity for luxury automakers to flex some of their considerable muscle in their own backyard. And for foreign automakers like Citroen, Renault, Skoda, Vauxhall, and Peugeot that sell primarily in Europe and Asia, it’s vital.

World Debuts

One crucial debut is Lamborghini’s Asterion, a brand-new plug-in hybrid electric concept. The car has 910 horsepower and will go 31 miles (50 km) on pure electric energy before engaging its motor. CEO Stephan Winkelmann called it a ‘ground-breaking, crucial step’ for the Volkswagen AG-owned company.

Another VW subsidiary, Audi, will show off a brand-new A4 sedan and its next-generation R8 Supercar; MINI will debut its Superleggera Vision Concept; and Land Rover will introduce the athletic Discovery Sport. Ducati is showing its novel Scrambler motorcycle, an update to a classic frame.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz AMG GT will finally show its face to the public along with a handful of other Mercedes-Benz offerings (S-Class Hybrid, C-Class Wagon). Infiniti’s stunning two-door Q80 Concept and Volvo’s charming next-generation SUV, the XC90, round out a strong group of luxury oriented new cars.

Convertible Life

The Ferrari 458 Speciale A is the most powerful Ferrari convertible in history, hitting 60 mph in 3 seconds on a 605-horsepower V8 engine. Nearly as quick is its retractable aluminum hard top, which takes just 14 seconds to deploy and adds only 50kg (110 lbs) over the coupe version. Source: Ferrari
The Ferrari 458 Speciale A is the most powerful Ferrari convertible in history, hitting 60 mph in 3 seconds on a 605-horsepower V8 engine. Nearly as quick is its retractable aluminum hard top, which takes just 14 seconds to deploy and adds only 50kg (110 lbs) over the coupe version. Source: Ferrari

Shown in Geneva as a “design preview,” Alfa Romeo’s stylishly tiny 4C Spider is leading the pack of cool convertibles on show. In addition to the allure of its hot Italian body, it is also light, weighing just over 2,000 pounds. That’s less than half what the primo luxe sedans from Rolls-Royce and Bentley weigh. So when you pair that flyweight with the 1.75-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, you get a sporty and relatively efficient 237 horsepower and 258 pound-foot of torque.

Elsewhere in drop-top world, BMW has a turbocharged 2-Series convertible that hints at a larger brand pivot: targeting buyers who want something compact and cheaper. (The company’s bread-and-butter 3-Series has maintained its size and heft since its 1975 debut.) The 2-Series is more driving-focused than its 4-Series counterpart, with a lighter fabric roof and choice of a 240 hp four-cylinder or 320 hp six-cylinder engine. No other brand will have a rear-wheel drive convertible of similar size and at a (relatively) lower MSRP; final pricing yet to be announced.

Ferrari, on the other hand, has no such qualms about appearing immodest. This week in Paris it will show the 458 Speciale A, a limited edition series celebrating the various versions of the 458. (That model is famous for winning, among other races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 12 Hours of Sebring.) It’s the most powerful Ferrari convertible in history, hitting 60mph in 3 seconds on a 605-horsepower V8 engine. Nearly as quick: its retractable aluminum hard top, which takes just 14 seconds to deploy and adds only 110 lbs. (50 kg) over the coupe version. That’s quite a feat for the stereotypically heavy and stiff convertible body.

Luxe Lifers

The Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Editions comes in monochrome white or black, but buyers can also add highlights of color throughout on items like brake calipers or accent stitching. They’ll have two-door coupe body style with 2+0 seating or Volante body style with 2+2 seating. Each will have a carbon fiber-bonded body with bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED side lights and direction indicators; LED light blade tail-lamps; and an exposed Carbon Fibre splitter, diffuser, and sill blade. Source: Aston Martin
The Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Editions comes in monochrome white or black, but buyers can also add highlights of color throughout on items like brake calipers or accent stitching. They’ll have two-door coupe body style with 2+0 seating or Volante body style with 2+2 seating. Each will have a carbon fiber-bonded body with bi-xenon headlamps with integrated LED side lights and direction indicators; LED light blade tail-lamps; and an exposed Carbon Fibre splitter, diffuser, and sill blade. Source: Aston Martin

The Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Black and Carbon White — other extremely limited editions of an existing model — will also make an appearance. Aston calls the black version a ‘perfect accentuation’ of the GT nature of its V12 sports car, as witnessed by its strong dark theme: black window surrounds, 10-spoke glossy black alloy wheels, an exposed carbon fiber roof, mirror caps and arm (black black black). The white version is an essay on contrast as its “Stratus White” paint plays against the dark carbon trim.

Each of these monochrome Vanquishes (also offered in the convertible Volante) comes with the ability to add highlights of color on, say, an accent brake caliper or an accent stitch or welt. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Finally, Bentley will show its 2015 Mulsanne Speed sedan, which will go on sale in 2016. True, a forthcoming SUV will be the hype-getter — it’s due out in 2016 — but don’t overlook that twin-turbo Speed. It houses Bentley’s classic six and three quarter V8 and is the most powerful luxury sedan of its kind ever, with 530 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque, up from the 505 hp and 752 pound-feet of its predecessor, and considerably faster. Bentley is trying to promote the Mulsanne as not just a touring sedan but as a powerful modern driver, so the steering and suspension have been improved; speed will hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds before it tops out at 190mph. That is impressive considering the car weighs nearly 6,000 pounds.

By Hannah Elliott

Source: bloomberg.com

Google Glass OOB Experience (Photo credit tedeytan)
Google Glass OOB Experience (Photo credit tedeytan)

Technology has had a massive impact in the classroom over the last decade but rarely has the arrival of a new device been so hotly anticipated. While it is still early days, trials of Google Glass are already giving an insight into whether it will live up to its hype as a teaching tool.

Google Glass has only been available to the public for a few weeks, but over the past year educators have been signing up to the Explorer Program to trial it in schools.

Many are understandably enthusiastic, but their experiences have also highlighted issues that schools will need to address before it can be widely adopted.

At first sight this excitement appears justified. A wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) has myriad applications. Among the most intriguing possibilities is allowing the teacher to see a lesson from the student’s perspective, at the same time as keeping an eye on whether they’re paying attention.

This seems to have massive potential. For the first time, teachers will get an idea of what it’s like to be a student in one of their lessons. The gain in understanding not just how much students understand but what made them understand it could be a significant step forward in helping educators analyze their own practise.

Activities recorded by Explorer teachers include students using Glass to create videos of projects, seeing how pupils approach new tasks, and using it to capture and archive parts of a lesson for future review and reflection.

There is no shortage of teachers recounting their experiences of Glass. Among the many blogs worth reading for an insight into the practical implementation of Glass – as well as some of the challenges – is 365 Days of Glass, written by Margaret A Powers, working with pupils at a lower school just outside Pennsylvania.

She has used it for everything from recording dance to tackling maths problems. “Seeing how students work and respond to a problem-in-the-moment is always a great tool for educators,” she writes.

Others are more circumspect. Wisconsin tech ed teacher Josh Fuller’s verdict after his three weeks using Glass was up that although it enhanced some aspects of his teaching it was difficult to see it becoming a necessity. Silvia Tolisano, a teacher at the American School in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is recording some of the advantages of using Glass, as well as some of the practical issues, in her blog.

For teachers considering the impact Glass could have, these and other Explorers’ blogs are essential reading. By detailing how Glass is actually being used they provide a solid base for evaluating it as an educational tool

While it is still early days, there are signs that Glass could make a difference in the classroom. But you don’t have to be a sceptic to be cautious of every new gadget that comes along. It’s true that many of the ways it is being deployed could just as easily have been achieved through a smartphone or tablet. Students may love using Glass now, but the novelty will soon wear off.

Schools also have to address the issues thrown up by wearable technology, not least of which is privacy. The devices also have an obvious potential for disruption in the classroom, way beyond the distractions caused by smartphones.
These should not be insurmountable – similar concerns were raised over smartphones – but existing policies will need to be updated and new protocols may need to be put in place (not wearing Glass in school bathrooms, for example). The debate over allowing calculators into exams will also seem a mere sideshow when Glass is up for discussion.

Price is obviously an issue. At $1400 a headset it is beyond the reach of most school budgets on anything but an experimental scale. The assumption is the price will come down; whether it fall enough for schools to adopt Glass on any scale is another question.

But Explorers have barely scratched the surface of what Glass can achieve. The augmented reality function is one that seems underdeployed as yet but has undoubted potential. Field trips could be transformed if students saw a full description of what they’re looking at alongside the object itself.

School cupboards are full of tech that was hailed as a major innovation but bit the dust because teachers lacked the know-how to use it fully, or found that its amazing capabilities were rarely called upon. It is unlikely the same fate will befall Google Glass, but there is more exploring to be done before the jury gives its verdict on whether it will make a real difference in the classroom.

By Nick Morrison
Source: Forbes

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