How Cloud Computing Benefits You

The new age of computer technology has had many innovations but none of which as disruptive and industry changing as cloud computing. This new step on the path of computer efficiency has equipped businesses with a new lens which they view their IT hardware and software requirements. Through media coverage and corporate advertisements much of the country is familiar with the idea of this mysterious cloud, but many still do not know what the benefits are of its use.

The encompassing idea for cloud computing can be simplified down to the one word of efficiency. This efficiency focuses in the use of resources to reduce costs; allowing for innovation, increase of speed and scalability, and conveniently allow for optimal resource utilization. All of which listed allow for businesses to create their own economies of scale and operate on a horizontal level. With the use of cloud resources these economies of scale can be created within any industry or business. Also, the size of a cooperation or its capacity requirements pose no issue for cloud computing, as there are essentially no bounds to how much information a cloud can secure.

Cloud Benefits:

Convenience / Location Independence: Often the most widely known benefit of cloud computing remains in it’s ability to allow users to access server data, software, and network equipment wherever they are located worldwide. Provided they have internet access, this flexibility furthermore allows for operations to extend into the field beyond the reaches of traditional technologies.

Speed: Cloud computing increases speed in nearly all facets of business. With this technology companies are no longer impeded by the setting up of hardware and software, nor are teams of workers delayed in collaboration when located in difference geographic locations.

Resource Utilization: Businesses are able to increase or decrease their usage of services on the cloud as their individual markets fluctuate in demand. This flexibility allows for users to not be bound by hardware constraints, and furthermore encourages operating at higher levels of production.

Decreased Costs: The most important benefit of cloud computing, which all others can be directly linked to are it’s ability to save companies large sums of money. The elimination of stand-alone servers and software allows for the redistribution of financial resources to other margin increasing activities. Also being these services are offered on a pay-per-consumption basis, businesses don’t pay for capacity which they don’t need. Also, the ability to have all data located together allows mangers the ability to better monitor all activity and budget accordingly.

How To Choose a Wide-Format Printer for Maximum Business Efficiency

When you choose a new wide-format printer, it’s natural to think about the obvious physical attributes of the device in question – roll-fed or flatbed design(or hybrid), width or format, how many ink colours (including white and/or metallics), (eco) solvent, UV-curable or latex inks, the range of supported substrates, resolution and print modes and speeds. High volume users, especially with flatbed printers, may want to think about automation options for unattended operation and multiple-shift working.

But what the purchaser of any new wide-format printer should also be thinking about is the type and quality of job information that the device can capture and pass on for production management and analysis. Even if that one printer is going to be the totality of your printing business, you will need to integrate it with your production and business systems to maximise the value you can achieve from it and to minimise the costs of its operation and maintenance.

As well as providing an audit trail for quality assurance purposes, automatically gathering accurate and detailed production information allows wide-format print service providers to see exactly what each job costs, not only in terms of substrate and ink usage but more importantly, in operator and machine time. Many wide-format print service providers rely on ‘per square metre’ costs that often assume rather idealised working conditions.

During busy periods operators are unlikely to take the time to log or record their activities but unforeseen manual intervention is an unpredictable and often costly factor in production that can make the difference between profit and loss on a particular job. Re-running jobs due to un-noticed faults in incoming files, for example, is a sure-fire way to lose money on a job.

The more this aspect of operations can be captured and analysed, the better the understanding of true production costs that can be achieved. This information helps to identify profitable types of work – and customers – so that these can be actively pursued, while providing earlier warning of problems that cause delays and escalate production costs, whether caused by supplied artwork or by internal practices.

The functionality of different manufacturers’ products varies in this respect but ideally a wide-format printer will be able to record and communicate for each job its dimensions or linear meterage, the substrate used, the resolution and printing mode (single or multiple-pass, for example) and colour management settings, machine status (printing, idle, offline for maintenance or fault conditions), operator input, and ink and media usage. For roll-fed devices, a ‘media remaining’ indicator is also extremely valuable in planning work.

Capturing and communicating data of this type involves both the printer and the RIP, so the degree of integration between the two and then onward from the RIP to a production workflow system and/or MIS are important factors to ask about. Although many RIP/front-end systems have a facility to output data in simple common file formats such as CSV or Excel-compatible spreadsheet, automatic data transfer will reduce the potential for error or delay. If operators have to carry out additional processes to capture or transfer this information, it is less likely that it will be done, especially at peak times when it is perhaps most important to know exactly what’s going through the shop and how long it’s taking.

To get the most out of your next wide-format printer, make sure you add ‘integration capabilities’ to your checklist.

Seven Reasons Today’s Students Prefer Online Courses

There has been much debate over online education and whether it will ever replace mainstream education. Let’s look at seven reasons online learning is the preferred choice for many students:

1. Computers are students’ natural way of life

Most of today’s students have grown up around computers and find it the most natural way to learn and interact. They use computers for everything: from social interaction (read Facebook) to finding out things. My son who has just completed his degree, Googles everything he wants to know. If you ask a question to no-one in particular or you’re wondering aloud about something, he has the answer in around a minute.

With this attitude to learning the next logical step will be online education.

2. A student can work as fast or as slow as they want

Students prefer working at their own pace. In a classroom situation students often get very bored as teachers need to go at the pace of the slowest student. If the student learns on his own online, he or she will take their natural pace of learning, which is right for them.

3. It empowers the student to interact

Students who would normally be quiet and shy in class have the confidence to interact on a digital platform where they don’t feel as exposed as in a classroom situation where others could intimidate them. If the online school offers live, interactive classes, the result is a winner.

4. There is always space for more students

One of the problems schools face are the numbers of students dropping out of class. As students who are enrolled online can work at their own pace, they have time to finish their assignments.

5. It is less expensive

Going to a regular school, students often pay between $3,000 and $5,000 for a years’ worth of education. Online education doesn’t have the expenses a normal school has and can often take a larger number of students per teacher, which makes it more cost effective.

6. The student learns better as there are fewer distractions

One would think that students would be distracted by computer games when learning online. However, the truth is that because students are so familiar with the online environment, they actually learn better online with fewer distractions as there are no classmates. They can also focus better, and learn quicker, which leaves ample time for games.

7. A bigger choice of subjects

Often students find that they have a limited choice of subjects because of student numbers being too low to warrant paying a teacher. This does not exist online. In learning online the student has an unlimited amount of subjects to choose from.

It is time to face facts: Online learning is an area that will grow and overtake mainstream education. It is here to stay.