Better Living Through Technology
This Spring 2007 issue of TMIS eNewsletter presents information about some breakthrough technologies and emerging marketplaces that promise to improve both our environment and our economy.
BiSolar, Inc. Is developing the technology to produce thin film, flexible solar cells on bio-based, rather than petroleum-based, plastic substrates. The company believes that renewable energy sources, such as solar, are likely to play a major role in satisfying the global thirst for energy. Building materials, outdoor power, emergency power, mobile computer and communications, and other sectors are all markets where this product is in demand.
The governor of North Carolina, where biotechnology has created huge economic success over the past 30 years, has figured out the next wave of the future there will be in nanotechnology. His senior advisor says, as an example, in the biopharmaceutical field there will be a shift from “things you take to the things that tell you what to take, the diagnostics that support preventive medicine. This is where nanotechnology comes into play. The successful companies will be those that can commercialize innovations that merge biotechnology, infotechnology, cognitive intelligence and nanotechnology,” he said.
Another North Carolina company, nCoat, Inc. Is already successfully producing protective coatings, which can be used in multiple industries, with nano-scale particulates and chemical reactions that provide heat, corrosion and abrasion protection. “Governments can accelerate the rate of immediate commercialization by aggressively promoting rapid and easy technology transfer from its research institutions now rather than getting caught in a never finished syndrome,” the company CEO said. A chairman of another company developing a nano-coating that kills and inactivates a number of viruses and bacteria agrees that nanotechnology is set to become the industry of the 21st century.
Green consumer awareness organization, Earth911, has introduced their new global warming resource page on their Earth911.org website. Did you know, according to the EPA, individuals can impact nearly 32% of the total emissions per person by the choices they make in only three areas? Visitors at Earth911.org can learn how they can make the most impact in reducing carbon emissions through educated choices about the electricity used in their homes, the waste they produce, and the transportation they choose to use.
More and more Americans are now finding it possible to head to their home office instead of their car every day. As the trend toward telecommuting increases, so do the challenges for managers who have yet to learn they cannot apply the same traditional management skill set to virtual teams. A new book by Colleen Garton, “Managing Without Walls: Maximize Success with Virtual, Global, and Cross-Cultural Teams,” provides insight for improving communication when a team includes workers who live in another time zone, or overseas. Garton’s goal is to prepare readers for the challenges of virtual management in a highly competitive and always changing world market.
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From the Front Page of TMIS News
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BioSolar's Launch of Bio-Based Plastic Substrate Development Effort Signals New Era in Solar Power
Santa Clarita, California
BioSolar, Inc., developer of a breakthrough technology to produce thin film, flexible solar cells on bio-based plastic substrates, has announced that the company is launching its development program to produce a proprietary bio-based resin uniquely suited to the rigors required for solar cell production. The methodology the company is developing to create low-cost thin film solar cells is a multi-faceted endeavor, with this newly launched bio-based specialty resin project signaling commencement of the first phase of the development.
Explaining some of the intricacies of the process, Dr. David Lee, BioSolar's CEO, said, "Our thin film solar cell development is unique because it involves the deposition of thin layers of amorphous silicon directly onto bio-based substrates utilizing a process known as chemical vapor deposition, or CVD. One of the challenges faced by BioSolar is that the current generation of bio-based resins has much lower melting and degassing temperature points than those of conventional petroleum-based plastic substrates. Currently available plastics made from bio-based resins begin to exhibit signs of degradation at processing temperatures used by existing CVD chambers. Therefore, we believe that existing bio-based plastics are not suitable for the manufacture of thin film solar cells, and we have launched our development program to blend the appropriate resins."
The company's primary bio-based substrate development effort is to overcome the processing temperature challenge of degassing and deformation of the bio-based substrate material during the thin film deposition process. Lowering the processing temperature will not result in solar cells with desirable characteristics. Therefore, they are developing various ways to correct or overcome these undesirable material properties at the processing temperatures currently used by existing CVD chambers.
Experts Predict Economic Boom from Nanotechnology
Greensboro, North Carolina
North Carolina could experience the same economic returns from nanotechnology as it has in the past 30 years from biotechnology investments if the state capitalizes on its strengths in emerging technologies with support that leads to commercialization of its innovations, according to leading experts in science, education, and business who spoke at the second annual NC Nanotech Conference at the Grandover Resort and Conference in Greensboro in March.
The conference is designed for entrepreneurs, executives and investors from across the region who have an interest in the wide-range of opportunities associated with nanotechnology and its commercial applications. "Thirty years ago North Carolina did not have a biotechnology cluster," said Robert McMahan, Ph.D., Senior Advisor to the Governor of North Carolina for Science and Technology. "Now it is the third largest biotechnology state with more than 350 bioscience companies. North Carolina was successful in recognizing that investments in technology could be a driver for the economy. Today, such strategic and patient investments in nanotechnology capability and capacity at the 48 nanotech companies throughout the state can replicate the biotechnology success."
Newly Launched Section Builds on National Effort to Raise Awareness About Impact of Global Warming
Responding to increased awareness and the need for greater public resources dedicated to addressing the global warming trends, Earth 911 -- part of the Global Alerts' cause media network, and the nation's portal for environmental action and information -- has launched a new section dedicated exclusively to Global Warming. Visitors to Earth911.org will now have access to comprehensive educational and actionable information designed to help them better understand what global warming is, and what efforts they can take to help combat its devastating effects.
"Global Warming affects us all. Earth 911 has always been designed and committed to creating a network accessible by individuals, communities and organizations for the latest information on local and national environmental issues and resources," said Jeffrey Rassás, President and CEO of Global Alerts. "Our new section dedicated to Global Warming is a natural extension of our larger vision -- to provide resources that empower individuals, communities and corporations to make a difference."
The Earth 911 Global Warming resource page includes background on what causes Global Warming, and an overview of the effects -- including links to heat and sun index safety, weather details, and world data. Information on what national and international organizations and agencies are doing to address Global Warming issues is also available. Visitors can learn more about programs and other organizations dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or access information on U.S. Climate Policy and Actions.
Managing Without Walls: Maximize Success with Virtual, Global, and Cross-Cultural Teams
Millions of Americans do it every workday -- head to their home office instead of their car to start their day. While the benefits of telecommuting or working from remote locations are numerous, so are the pitfalls. Especially for the manager who faces the daunting task of building a cohesive team of employees when not everyone is on-site. So how can a manager successfully lead a team of workers who might never meet face to face?
The secret lies in understanding the dynamics of building and leading a virtual team. Successful virtual managers realize that they can't just cut and paste the skill set for 'traditional management' to lead a virtual team according to international project manager and author of "Managing Without Walls" (MCPress, 2006), Colleen Garton, who has over 20 years experience in traditional and virtual management in the financial, technology, analytics, and multimedia industries. "Today many virtual and outsourced projects are failing due to managers' lack of expertise in virtual management," says Garton. "The successful virtual manager has developed the knowledge and expertise needed to overcome the unique challenges of working together while the team is physically apart."
The telecommuting trend shows no signs of slowing. The International Telework Association and Council in Washington estimates that 20 million Americans now telecommute. That's why it is increasingly crucial for managers to develop and polish their virtual leadership skills. Garton draws a clear and concise picture of the tools virtual managers need to successfully lead their team. Garton also outlines the challenges posed by a virtual team; where personality clashes and office politics can still take a detrimental toll. "Managers need to understand how virtual communication differs from traditional communication and how to effectively communicate to build a team," says Garton.
eHealth Initiative Commends Health and Human Services Secretary for Healthcare Leadership
Calling it a landmark in the move towards improving America's healthcare through health information technology (HIT) adoption, eHealth Initiative CEO Janet M. Marchibroda commended Secretary Michael Leavitt for recognizing the need for public and private sector collaboration at the national level as well as the need for both data standards and privacy and security policies for information sharing as key building blocks for a higher quality, safer, more efficient healthcare system. Marchibroda's remarks came in response to the Secretary's announcement of a private-public sector collaboration -- the American Health Information Community (AHIC) -- and four related Requests for Proposals to fast-forward work related to privacy and security, standards harmonization, certification, and architecture, all of which are required to improve the nation's healthcare system.
"Today's announcement signals the Administration's commitment to interoperability and the mobilization of information across our healthcare system, both of which are critical prerequisites to improving our nation's health," said Janet M. Marchibroda. "With Secretary Leavitt at HHS' helm, states, regions and communities nationwide can be assured Washington is providing much needed leadership on standards and is attuned to the work they're doing in health information sharing to support local healthcare improvements, and patients can be assured Washington is continuing to protect their privacy and security. Additionally, this work will lay the foundation for developing and implementing incentives which are also needed for HIT adoption."
Electronic Health Record Services added to Quantum Medical Technology Solutions
The Quantum Group, Inc. has announced that its subsidiary, Quantum Medical Technologies, Inc. , has introduced its latest cutting edge solution to improve patient wellness and medical practice efficiency. This new product is a web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) developed by a combination of experienced physicians, technology experts and healthcare administrators.
Quantum President and CEO Noel J. Guillama commented, "We are adding this new solution to our system of physician-centric services entitled "Q-Care," which are designed to provide physicians with additional time and cost saving benefits. The Electronic Health Record will be a key component in providing quality patient care as it allows healthcare providers to access one comprehensive source to share and research information regarding a particular individual."
The Quantum EHR is an Application Service Provider (ASP), licensed by the Company, designed to meet the interoperability requirements established by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) and the Continuity of Care Records (CCR). This internet-based solution significantly reduces the initial costs of set up, training, and operating costs. Compared to in-house, server-based EHR systems, this ASP-based EHR removes expenses associated with obsolescence, expensive upgrades and maintenance. There are no up front costs to the physician under the Quantum program.
Columbia Orthopaedic Group Selects InteGreat's IC-Chart EHR and Patient Portal
Columbia Orthopaedic Group, a 24-physician orthopedic practice in Columbia, Mo., has selected InteGreat's IC-Chart as its electronic health records (EHR) system and IC-MyHealthRecord for its patient portal to enhance patient care and reduce overall costs.
For Columbia Orthopaedic Group, a subspecialized group with unique requirements, flexibility was a critical factor in selecting an EHR vendor, in terms of customization to meet the specific requirements of each user and options for documenting patient data. Columbia's EHR vendor selection committee, which included eight physicians, evaluated numerous top-name vendors over six months before whittling their choices to two finalists.
"We selected InteGreat based on its high-quality customer service and excellent product value. We were very impressed with InteGreat's responsiveness to our issues and concerns, and willingness to roll out additional EHR capabilities," says Columbia Orthopaedic Group's CEO Gene Austin. "In addition, the IC-MyHealthRecord patient portal will enhance patient communication and make it possible for us to significantly streamline the registration process."
The entire practice, including doctors, nurses, mid-levels and administrative employees, will use IC-Chart to record their daily encounters when the staff moves to a new, completely paperless facility in early 2008. Physicians also will be able to customize templates according to their preferences and experiment with voice capabilities.
New Appliances Deliver Rich Media From Cable and Net Transforming the Living Room Into a Fully Interactive Digital Entertainment Center
FOCUS Enhancements, Inc. has announced that TISNet, a subsidiary of Tatung Company, are in production with three set-top boxes, the PVR1000, the STB4000 and the STB5000 -- all featuring the FS-454 video convergence processor. FOCUS Enhancements' FS-454 chip provides both standard definition and high definition television in multiple international formats. TISNet is currently responsible for Tatung Company's worldwide set-top box, and personal video recorder digital home product sales, software development and technical support.
"Today's digital set-top boxes have to supply a perfect picture to the TV viewer as their expectations have increased with the advent of HD programming," said Luke Dang, President of TISNet. "FOCUS Enhancements allows us to provide excellent SDTV and HDTV quality at a low cost, adding value for our customers."
"Tatung brings tremendous market reach, high quality and high volume manufacturing to the IPTV (Internet Protocol television) industry," said Tom Hamilton, executive vice president and general manager for FOCUS Enhancements' semiconductor group. "We are excited to be working together with them on advanced set-top box solutions that are helping to redefine TV-based entertainment. The FS-454 series enables this new generation of STBs with high quality graphics, enriching the overall PC/TV experience."
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