Now, walkie-talkies to aid SWM

headphonesWhen we found this article we were so excited, having hunted for over a year for this, discovering it on this site was an exciting day for yours truly.

As part of its efforts to improve and streamline solid waste management (SWM) in the city, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike will soon begin distribution of two-way radios (walkie-talkies) to officials handling the service.

According to BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana, walkie-talkie handsets will be used to relay messages on uncleared garbage. When members of the public call the BBMP’s control rooms with complaints on uncleared waste, staff will relay the information to the officials concerned via walkie-talkie.

Interestingly, the plan could cut costs as it does not involve purchase of new equipment. Instead, nearly 300 two-way radios, that are currently used by senior officials or fitted to their service vehicles, will be redistributed to other staff.

Lakshminarayana explained that currently walkie-talkies were provided to staff of the rank of assistant executive engineers and above. “However, the service was not effective as officials were using mobile phones,” he said.

“Now, in order to utilise the service more effectively, we are planning to provide this service only to officials working in SWM such as health inspectors, assistant engineers (including ward engineers) and others,” he said.

Explaining further, Lakshminarayana said walkie-talkie handsets given to officials working in welfare, roads and other departments will be withdrawn.

“These officials do not require this service,” he said.

He also said because of unnecessary lines, walkie-talkie communication was not effective.

“All these days, walkie-talkie service was hierarchy-based and given to senior officials. But now onwards, it will be an activity-based service,” he added.

The Commissioner said he had asked the joint commissioner (Health), who is in-charge of SWM, to provide a list of officials working in the department.

However, some Councillors are sceptical. A senior councillor from the BJP, who wished to remain anonymous, said “Our officials do not have commitment. If we complain about garbage on the streets to them over phone, they will not make an attempt to clear it.”

“Now, complaints will be conveyed to officials via walkie-talkie from control room staff. How can one expect them to clear the garbage?,” he questioned.

Source – http://newindianexpress.com/cities/bangalore/Now-walkie-talkies-to-aid-SWM/2013/11/22/article1904581.ece

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Jawbone earpiece makes it easier to love smartphones

Jawbone earpiece makes it easier to love smartphones
Cant get over how low-priced the earpiece is now, a tremendous deal for any top-end product!

Jawbone began making it easier to love Siri, Google Now or other virtual assistants in a hint at the future portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film Her.

The San Francisco-based company behind sophisticated and stylish wireless ear pieces released a new ERA model packing big technology in a diminutive form and enabling users to speak more naturally with software on their mobile devices.

“I hope they don’t fall in love with their operating systems, but they will at least rekindle a relationship with voice commands,” Jawbone audio product manager Gernard Feril said while providing AFP an early look at the new ERA.

Feril was making a playful reference to the Spike Jonze film Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a man who falls in love with a personal computer operating system.

Advanced Siri and Google Now software, which combine natural language exchanges with contextual awareness and even anticipating what users might want, have created a place for an ERA ear piece with enhanced technology for speaking to smartphones as one would a person, according to Feril.

Jawbone built in wide-band audio, high-quality microphones, and NoiseAssassin software to block out unwanted sounds to make voice quality closer to what is found in Internet telephone calls than in typical ear pieces.

Being able to speak commands and have spoken exchanges with virtual assistants through the ear piece frees people to either ignore smartphone screens or use them for other tasks, such as e-mail, games or maps.

“This device has become so powerful,” Feril said of the smartphone in his hand, “that holding it to your face limits what you’re doing.”

And, as screen sizes of mobile devices have grown, they become awkward to hold up to faces, he noted.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza that played out recently in Las Vegas was rife with headsets. Jawbone set out to distinguish itself with a tiny, high-quality ear piece crafted with style and brains to complement smartphone lifestyles.

Feril billed ERA as the smallest, lightest, best-sounding ear piece available.

ERA was priced at US$99 (RM300) at jawbone.com, but could be purchased with a protective charging case for US$130 (RM390) to increase talk time to 10 hours from four. The ear piece was less than half the size of its predecessor.

Since ERA is tiny, Jawbone added a “locator” feature that signals an ear piece to chirp to disclose where it is.

A Jawbone “Nerd” USB device can be used to automatically synch the ear piece to laptop computers.

“It’s the Internet-of-me,” Feril said. “It is not about the things, it is about the person. You can see that, at least in Spike Jonze’s interpretation, the Internet is going to be with you at all times.

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