Airline Security, BP Oil Spill, Hosted VoIP, BPA Quality

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David Sims
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Airline Security, BP Oil Spill, Hosted VoIP, BPA Quality

You've probably seen the startling images from the "backscatter" X-ray technology they use in airports now, which leave little to the imagination and could possibly heighten the risk of you getting skin cancer as well.
Well, there's another reason to hate it now: According to Yahoo! News, the Transportation Security Administration and other federal organizations store the images captured by the system.
This is, of course, in direct contrast with what they promised when they introduced the technology: 'The TSA has long held that scanned images - which show in great detail a photo-negative-type image of the subjects who stand before it - are not stored. It has even gone so far as to suggest that technology doesn't allow them to be saved permanently. Turns out that's not exactly the case.'
As Yahoo! News notes, 'this week the U.S. Marshals Service confessed that it has indeed been saving images scanned at a Florida courthouse checkpoint, for unknown purposes... and it actually did require that millimeter wave scanners have the capability to store and transmit scanned images."
Read more here.
Recently the Harvard Business Review posted an article looking at the remark by the new BP CEO, Bob Dudley, saying that the Gulf oil spill "has come out of nowhere" for the company.
"Maybe not," the article suggests. "Perhaps it was coming for quite a while."
Cast back your mind to the mid-nineties, the article says, when "BP was all the rage in management circles, in part because it was one of the very first firms to take the notion of knowledge management seriously."
John Browne, its then-new managing director, was interviewed by the article's authors -- Tom Davenport, Larry Prusak, and Brook Manville -- who were impressed with Browne's ability to "allow his people to make better decisions based on insight and experience BP had already gained, and to keep building those stores."
But by early 2000, BP's knowledge management was "in tatters," with the firm focusing more and more on controlling costs and boosting its share price, the article notes, "and its prized peer assist program, the jewel of its knowledge program, was barely functioning."
Read more here.
For an interesting perspective on the benefits of hosted VoIP there's a recent blog post by Roberto Sedycias, an IT consultant for PoloMercantil.

"It is easy to use VoIP," Sedycias says. "With an analog telephone adapter and an existing telephone jack, you can enjoy VoIP from a fixed location, provided by broadband Internet and cable companies and with the use of your computer."
Or, if you use a VoIP phone, you can connect to the IP through Wi-Fi or Ethernet, he says, adding that if you purchase a softphone, "you can install it into your computer and access VoIP without any added hardware."
Many cell phone carriers, such as Nokia, are participating with VoIP to create a merging between the cellular network and the Wi-Fi network, Sedycias says. "Since 2004, the marketing of VoIP has spread to the masses and now many big businesses are embracing VoIP in the place of traditional telephone systems," he explained, "because of their bigger bandwidths and low costs."
VoIP "is amazing in its ability to transmit more than one telephone call over a single broadband connection without the need of extra phone lines," he noted, adding that much of the problems of securing a regular telephone connection is "not a problem with VoIP, as it is already a digitized and secure line. You can enjoy pure location independence, as VoIP is accessible from anywhere at any time and only requires a fast and stable Internet connection to get a connection from a VoIP provider to anywhere you choose."
Read more here.
It's interesting to hear a call center provider talk about its philosophy of how the company goes about its business. BPA Quality officials say that the challenge as managers is to "move the barometer of performance from poor or average to outstanding."

"We probably have all been on the receiving end of poor or average customer service," they say, adding that research shows that "a contributing factor to this is that often when agents are given feedback it is often in varying degrees subjective -- the impact of this is that either the agent believes that the feedback is biased and disregards it, or genuinely does not know how to improve based on the feedback."
For example, they say, the agent may be told to be friendlier. Which is great, but what if the agent does not know how to be friendlier? Right -- she has a job waiting for her at the IRS tomorrow. But stay focused here.
BPA's experience and research in the field for over twenty years lets them claim specialist status in analyzing behavior by "constructing metrics that allow the precise measurement of performance. Seemingly subjective elements of calls are accurately measured."
Read more here.

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