Archive for January, 2014

Are Auto Insurance Companies Spying On You?

Is-Your-Auto-Insurance-Company-Spying-On-YouThe new technology that was first created to help teenage drivers become safe and responsible, is now being utilized by car insurance companies and agents to observe their customers’ driving habits. While insurance companies claim using the new “telematic” devices is solely to help drivers save money, keep their cars out of the shop and reduce wear and tear , customers are on the fence as to whether the new technology offers them beneficial advice on their driving habits or a commercialized invasion of privacy.

When the technology first became available, parents loved the idea because it gave them an accurate view of their teenage driver’s habits on the road. The devices showed where they went, if they obeyed the speed limit and whether or not the knew how to brake effectively. Unbeknownst to the new driver, the device basically tracked every move they made, including how often they changed the radio station.

Teenagers who were proven to be excellent drivers would sometimes apply for insurance discounts if they maintained good grades and reported no incidents of accidents or traffic violations. Parents could review the information provided by the digital devices and plan accordingly. In cases where it was obvious the teen needed more experience before setting out on their own, parents could plan on providing them with one on one supervision while driving.

Although parents appreciated and welcomed the knowledge about their childrens’ driving habits, they are not so eager to divulge the information when it pertains to their own usage. New telematic devices record almost every action performed by the driver. GPS tracks their every move, documenting each location and the times when they arrived and left.

Acceleration and braking patterns are checked as well. The benefits of this type of documentation is better fuel efficiency and less wear and tear on brake pads and rotors. Proper use of the brakes helps to prevent excessive pad wear and helps them to last much longer than if a driver is constantly riding them.

The biggest glitch involving the use of the new tracking devices is misuse of the information they provided about the driver. Users worry that their information will be used to raise their insurance rates or influence their ability to get quality car insurance. It was discovered that the National Security Agency was guilty of several incidences of invasion of privacy. It was unclear as to whether telemetric devices were used in each incident, but the practice itself has given rise to the publics’ unwillingness to expose themselves to the risk of losing their privacy.

For those who choose to use the new technology, insurance companies are able to tailor their insurance policies to the exact needs of each of their customers. Those who drive safely, take less risks while on the road and obey traffic laws are more likely to have lower premiums and deductibles than individuals who constantly push the limits of their vehicle and the law.

Although most agree that the devices may be a little excessive in the amount of information they collect, customers are more concerned about how that information will be used in the long run.

So are insurance companies spying on you?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off on Are Auto Insurance Companies Spying On You?

How Real Estates Are Using Technology to Sell More Homes

Realtors are beginning to recognize the value of using the newest trends in technology when selling or listing homes on the real estate market. Using technologically advanced tools helps realtors reach a much wider audience as well as improve how well a home is perceived by prospective buyers. At future realtors are taught how to use specific sales techniques as well as the newest in technology to enhance a home’s image and gain the advantage by using every resource available to them.

Multiple Listing Services – Real estate agencies can reach a much larger number of buyers by using a Multiple Listing Service. These services allow homes to be placed on their lists so that other companies can show them to their clients. When a home sells, the original listing agency receives a portion of the proceeds of the sale just as the agent who actually sold the property.

Virtual Staging and Digital EnhancementsVirtual staging and the use of digital enhancements can revitalize a vacant property showing many possibilities using a variety of furniture types and decorating styles. Images of the property can be uploaded and changed as often as the realtor chooses depending on the needs and wants of clients interested in viewing the home or property.

Global Marketing – Multiple listing agencies and worldwide capabilities of the internet allow for people from all over the globe to view and virtually tour homes online. Pictures and videos can be taken, digitally enhanced and then sent almost anywhere using a laptop, smart phone or other telecommunications device. This type of split second availability allows individuals to purchase homes in other countries without ever visiting them or taking a physical tour.

Social Networking – Social networking is another viable tool that many realtors use to reach out to large numbers of people at the same time. By posting a picture of a home on their Facebook or Twitter page, individuals from all over the country, and even the world, who have liked their page can view the property. If they are interested, the realtor only has to upload a file and send it to the buyer via a text or email message. This provides them with a first hand view of the property as well as all of the commercial details. Bids can be placed over the phone or in an email allowing for the entire transaction to take place via a virtual connection.

Mobile Technologies – Cell phones and tablets are quick becoming a technological resource many realtors depend on. Easier to use than a laptop, tablets are more convenient when realtors are constantly on the go. With much the same capabilities, tablets allow realtors to access files, create documents and send information through emails, just as if they had used a laptop. Cell phones are also able to perform many of the same tasks that laptops can using mobile apps.

Technology has opened up an entirely new world for realtors who were once limited to selling property to individuals in their own little corner of the world. With the newest technology at their fingertips, they are able to sell homes to almost anyone, no matter where they happen to be.

Saturday, January 18th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off on How Real Estates Are Using Technology to Sell More Homes

Tech Schools Are No Longer The Only Place To Get Tech Training

Industries are always looking for new, more efficient ways to train their workers. Offering the option to take classes gives them an alternative to the conventional classroom training programs most technical schools offer.

Benefits of Online Training

Both companies and employees benefit from online courses. Technical programs offered by companies such Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER).give employees the chance to learn what they need to know while staying on the job. Some of the benefits of online classes include:

  • Classes can be taken when it is convenient for the employee
  • Students can return to the program if they need to brush up on procedures and techniques
  • Allows the student to remain on the job while they are taking the classes
  • Students can take classes at home instead of traveling to a technical school

In some of the longer, more extensive classes such as the 40 hour certification course, 32 hours of the training can be received over the internet. The last 8 hours must be taken in the classroom and will cover hands on training techniques that cannot be taught online.

Topics Covered by Online Classes

Online classes concerning hazardous waste deal with several facets of the process. One of the most important topics covered in online classes is the clean up and removal of hazardous waste. Government regulations stipulate that specific methods of clean up must be used depending on the toxicity of the substance that has been spilled. The Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations and sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 govern how hazardous waste is stored and cleaned up at each site.

Any individual who works with hazardous chemicals or runs the risk of exposure, must take classes to ensure they know how to properly contain and clean up spills or leaks. Once they have successfully completed their technical training, they must take an 8 hour refresher course each year to keep their certification current.

Several types of classes are offered for online certification. They include:

  • Emergency Medical Service – able to treat MRSA, anaphylaxis, staph
  • Bloodborne Pathogen Class
  • HAZMAT Emergency First Responder – Level 1 and 2
  • OSHA Respiratory Protection – Level 1 and 2
  • Individualized Training for Specific Chemicals – Asbestos, hydrogen sulfide and chemical spills in confined spaces

Classes are designed for different skill levels. Level 1 classes offer basic information the employees can use in an emergency situation. Level 2 classes are an extended version which provides highly detailed procedures and techniques that are used during the clean up process. Individuals who complete Level 1 and receive their certification are encouraged to return to take the Level 2 course when they have a chance.

The refresher course is mandatory and must be each year to review old procedures and receive information on new and improved techniques. Employees must remain certified if they continue to work with hazardous materials. Online technical classes allow companies to remain compliant with federal regulations as well as make sure their employees can protect themselves if a spill occurs on the job.

Monday, January 13th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off on Tech Schools Are No Longer The Only Place To Get Tech Training